Jonathan Klate: Inauguration omission

Published: 1/21/2021 10:48:36 AM
Inauguration omission

At the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Jennifer Lopez entertained and inspired us with her lilting rendition of the first two verses of Woody Guthrie’s elegantly simple and enduringly powerful anthem, “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.”

Let’s recall two of the verses that Woody wrote that were omitted on this occasion that complete the circle of meaning of this song, and illuminate the reality of the struggles remaining with us.

Was a high wall there that tried to stop me

A sign was painted said: Private Property,

But on the back side it didn’t say nothing —

God blessed America for me.

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple

By the Relief Office I saw my people —

As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if

God blessed America for me.

Jonathan Klate


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