July 20, 2010
Working to confirm, but news from Florida and a highly reliable source is that Walter Hart died over the weekend, at 91 by my calculations.
You would remember Hart as the oldest Eagle Scout, having gotten his award three years ago, when he was 88.
Mr. Hart should be remembered as a hero, and certainly as an inspiration to aspiring Eagle Scouts — especially those facing a short time to their 18th birthday.
July 20, 2010
In the late 1960s and the 1970s, conservatives made big displays of singing this song. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded one very popular version of it; it showed up often. In those occasional complaints about the difficulty of singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” this song’s suitability for national anthem status was always raised.
Today? I haven’t heard it at a Republican gathering in long, long time. I’m not saying that it’s completely disappeared from the conservative song book — among other things, I don’t attend Republican conventions as often as I once did, but I don’t think I’d hear it if I did. I am saying that people finally started listening to the song, and it’s been largely dropped from conservative sing alongs for political reasons.
And that tells us a lot.
It would be good to hear this song a lot more; it would be good if more people sang it.
Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger leading the congregation in singing Woody Guthrie’s “The Land Is Your Land,” from a 1993 concert at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Virginia (one of my favorite venues for any music):
(Arlo’s got a new release this year, featuring this tune.)