Where I come from a great American is at least one of these:
Thoughtful and conscientious
A terrific musician
What happens when you put them all together?
You get Pete Seeger.
Celebrating his 90th birthday on May 3, this composer and performer of the classics, 'If I had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)', 'Turn, Turn, Turn', 'Where have all the flowers gone?' has led a life bound to the principles of peace and harmony (literally and figuratively).
In the 40s he sang for the workers trying to organize and for Eleanor Roosevelt and the the soldiers.
In the 50s he formed The Weavers but refused to bow the the House Committee on un-American Activities and was banned from television and radio for more than a decade.
In the 60s he fought for civil rights and opposed the Vietnam War.
In the 70s he worked on cleaning up the environment by founding the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
And he did all that with the most powerful weapon he had, his voice. He sang, 'Where have all the flowers gone?' in the face of the guns of Vietnam and sang 'We Shall Overcome' to the police and dogs when he marched with Martin Luther King on Washington. He sang 'That Lonesome Valley' in the polluted Hudson River Valley.
There are few who are not captivated by the warmth, charm and ease of his voice.
Here's to a happy 90th and hopes that we have 90 more with this Greatest of Americans.