This land was made for you and me

Posted: January 21, 2009 in Uncategorized

Last Sunday, in the lead-up to Barack Obama’s inauguration, American musical icons Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, performed together in front of the Lincoln Memorial for Barack Obama and an estimated half million other folks.

Their song was timely — “This Land is your Land” — Woodie Guthrie’s beloved anthem, penned at the end of the Great Depression in 1940.

This may be the first time in history that this song was heard on televisions around the world as it was originally intended to be sung. The last three verses, which represent a powerful call for the rights of working people, are not widely known.

By reclaiming the lost verses, Seeger, 89, reaffirmed its original meaning as America enters another Great Depression. In doing so, he paid a huge tribute to his old friend Woodie Guthrie.

And veteran rabble rouser that his is, Seeger also provided a means for the half million people on site and the millions watching to express their aspirations for social justice to Mr. Obama. Obama seemed to be singing along, but was he listening? Time will tell.

Parliament resumes next week. Will our elected representatives remember that there is a Canadian version to This Land is Your Land?

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me


I’ve roamed and rambled and I’ve followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me


In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
As they stood hungry and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.


There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.


Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Additional verses

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
And that sign said – no tress passin’
But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

  1. Beijing York says:

    That performance was so inspiring. I sure hope Obama gets it but I think there will be some disappointment. One thing is for certain, we can rejoice in seeing the last of Bush and Cheney.

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