- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2003


Peter, Paul and Mary, the folk singers known for such timeless recordings as “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Puff, The Magic Dragon,” spoke out yesterday about civil rights, social progress, and how people can make a difference.

The trio sang at the Lincoln Memorial under hazy skies to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech this month.

Singer Peter Yarrow told Associated Press Network News that society is “absolutely” closer today to King’s dream of peace, freedom and social justice. He noted that before civil rights supporters began speaking out, blacks and whites couldn’t always eat meals together and couldn’t always use the same restrooms.

“We’ve come a huge way,” Mr. Yarrow said, “and part of our coming that way is uniting people’s hearts, and part of that is done with music.”

Mr. Yarrow feels it is more important than ever to speak and sing of peace because “people are virtually threatened with lack of loyalty about their country because they differ with the administration’s position.” He believes young Americans can make a difference. “You are not powerless. You can make a change. You just have to stand together,” he said. As an example, he credited protesters with helping to end the Vietnam War.

Mary Travers said it is important for young people to get involved in issues affecting them, such as the war on terrorism and the guerrilla war in Iraq.

The wet, humid weather didn’t faze the singers. Paul Stookey said they have performed in worse conditions. He recalled a protest many years ago when organizers threw plywood on top of coffins for a makeshift staging area, and the group sang through bullhorns.

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