Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Night Sweet Prince

I just saw the news on the Internet today that the great Richie Havens has died. Havens was the opening act at Woodstock and performed the song Freedom. I didn’t make it to Woodstock in August of 1969. As a very young geologist, I was busy drilling a dry hole in east Texas, not far from where my great-grandfather had died. A month later, I married my first wife Gail. Six months later, I was training at Fort Polk’s Tiger land. Nine months later, I was a line company grunt, infantry machine gunner, with the 1st Cav in Vietnam.

My first marriage didn’t work out. Neither did the results of the Vietnam War. Richie Havens didn’t change the world, but his songs brought hope to all the twenty-somethings like me back then. Now, Richie’s dead, and I just keep pushing on, listening to Freedom in my head, wishing war would soon be gone, but knowing freedom’s just a word, an empty word in an unfinished song.

Richie Havens
January 21, 1941 to April 22, 2013
Good night sweet prince


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