(Day 1 of Memorial Day Week 2012)
For many, Memorial Day means a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer.
Memorial Day is celebrated Monday, May 28, this year. The first Memorial Day was May 1, 1865, when hundreds of freed slaves, missionaries, and teacher held a solemn ceremony to honor the Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prison camp in Charleston. That memorial evolved into Decoration Day and then in 1882 to Memorial Day. The last Monday in May now honors all soldiers killed in all wars.
Each day until Memorial Day, I will send a song to remind us about the horror and futility of war. All are protest songs of some kind. Please listen to each song, and reflect upon those who died in battle—and those who sent our children, parents, and friends into battle.
Today’s song is “Sing a Simple Song of Freedom,” written by Bobby Darin (1936-1973). Darin had begun his career as a songwriter for Connie Francis, and then co-wrote “Splish Splash,” his first hit. Many followed.
During the late ’60s, with the war in Vietnam escalating, he became more political, and had been an early supporter of the presidency of Robert F. Kennedy, becoming an important part of the Senator’s campaign. He was at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night Sen. Kennedy was murdered.
For a year, Darin went into seclusion. When he finally emerged, he had written “Sing a Simple Song of Freedom.” Tim Hardin first sang it; Kevin Spacey, in Beyond the Sea (2004), a docudrama of Darin’s life, gave it a decent ride. But, this is Bobby Darin, singing his own song.
Please take the time to click on the link and hear one of the most beautiful and powerful songs to challenge war and plead for social justice.