A young man, aged 14, lead a beautiful rendition of Where Have All the Flowers Gone at last night’s Gather-All at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He is a wonderful musician, a student, a teacher and a friend.
As he was singing I looked at him and I looked out at all of the young musicians who had come to sing and play. “Where have all the soldiers gone?” Tears came to my eyes.
The enlistment age is just four years away for him, and all the young musicians singing and playing their hearts out will get to that age someday, too. In addition tough streets are recruiting young people in the neighborhoods where I teach in Chicago Public Schools and the topic of “recruiting” continues to be a big part of the discussion about violence all over the world. There are a lot of people asking generation after generation to go off to war and they are asking for all kinds of different reasons.
What will happen in the coming years? I looked out at all the young faces at the Gather-All and I thought of all these kids laying down their fiddles and guitars and “going to soldier.”
We can’t let that happen. There has got be be another way.
When will we ever learn?