In the spring through early summer my friend Terre Roche hosts the Sunset Singing Circle at the Robert Wagner Park in Battery Park City. Every Friday evening throughout May and June folks from all walks of life gather to sing songs as the sun sets on the water on the lower tip of Manhattan.
The Battery Park staff and Terre provide song books with lyrics and soft mats to sit on. I had friends in from out of town and I took them down to experience this special event.
As we approached the lawn where the event is held there were young families, senior citizens, and a cadre of musicians playing string instruments. One woman playing the banjo took me back to my Kentucky roots, and also made me reflect on Pete Seeger. Pete passed away in January of this year, and the sounds of the banjo made me think of him. It reminded me of how the head of his banjo is printed with the words "This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces It To Surrender".
As I thought of this statement on Pete's banjo, someone requested we sing Pete's song "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" Terre obliged, and pointed out that the request was made to commemorate and observe the anniversary of D-day.
As we sang, I took in my surroundings.
I allowed my eyes to span slowly from the rippling water, to the Statue of Liberty, and then to the musicians. I took in the sight of my amazing friend, Terre Roche lifting up her voice with passion to lead us in this anthem for peace. Then I looked behind me and realized we were sitting behind the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Finally, I looked skyward to where the new One World Trade Center now stands, and wondered...
When will we ever learn?