“In the first march I went to (opposing Vietnam) there were 10 of us. This is huge,” Baez told relatives of fallen U.S. soldiers Sunday before performing a free concert just up the road from the ranch.
About 500 people gathered to hear her on a 1-acre lot offered by a landowner who opposes the war. Not far away, protesters continued a camp-out started by grieving mother Cindy Sheehan.
Baez said a movement like this was waiting to happen.
“It was the final tear for the overflow and you can’t stop running water,” she said. “Cindy’s was the final tear.”
“I think the question that nobody wanted to deal with is the question they’re posing: did my kid die in vain? Because the answer is too awful,” Baez said. She has never met Sheehan but said she spoke to her on the phone.
Folk singer Joan Baez, a leading figure of the 1960s counter-culture and peace movement, took to the stage Sunday night less than a mile from the Western White House.
Even before she sung a note in her concert in support of war mom Cindy Sheehan, the legendary artist and activist received a standing ovation from the more than 500 people in the audience.
“Sit down. Y’all sit down,” Baez told the crowd. “I’d say thank you for inviting me, but I already had my plane ticket.”
As the sun set, Baez sang a mishmash of folk songs, including “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream,” the African spirtual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “Song of Peace,” patterned after the Finnish national anthem.
About an hour prior to her set, Baez spoke to reporters and to parents whose children were killed in the Iraq war. Baez said she came to Crawford to support Sheehan’s cause and the other military parents grieving for their fallen children.
Baez is forever linked to her activism against the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Through the decades, she has lent her voice against aggression and militarism.
Also at Camp Casey today — “Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird Johnson’s chief of staff and press secretary during the Johnson administration. The 85-year-old Salado native called on the audience, especially women, to advance peace in lieu of war.”
“When I first went to Washington in June 1943, I ran into the first ambassador I’d ever met, and I said to him, ‘What is diplomacy?’ and he said, ‘Keeping the conversation going.’ Wouldn’t we be a lot better if we kept the conversation going?” Carpenter said. “We are all ambassadors in this country and we’ve got to learn how to wage peace.
“When it happens, it will be because of women, and women like Cindy Sheehan.”