Where Flowers Go

S M Chen
5 min readFeb 27, 2022

“They may have won the battles, but we had the best songs.”

  • Tom Lehrer (1928 — ); American songwriter, satirist, mathematician
Lotus: Author

One of my favorite Pete Seeger (1919–2014; American folk singer and social activist) songs remains “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

I marveled at the mastery of the lyrics and used to wonder about the stanza beginning with the words of the title.

Where did Seeger get such inspiration?

So simple.

So lovely.

So true.

In case you need a reminder or have never heard the song before, here’s a link, wherein the song is performed by Seeger himself:

I was reminded of this lovely and poignant song, a probable favorite of antiwar activists everywhere, when I encountered the news of a brief encounter between an old Ukrainian woman and a Russian soldier who had invaded her land.

This evolving, as Russia has, just this past week, invaded Ukraine.

In case you happened to be an astronaut on a space station and were away at the time.

The cost already of this relatively brief occupation, in terms of lives lost (on both sides; we do not, and may never, know the true Russian loss), is tragic.

Despite the name of the popular Russian newspaper, ‘Pravda (Truth),’ probably few pretend the real truth is being written.

Propaganda flourishes in soil too toxic for truth.

Truth requires a certain kind of soil.


Not so much.

Fake news may have caught root elsewhere before it became part of our lexicon.

And, from most perspectives, at least, this invasion was so unnecessary.

There are reports some invading Russian soldiers did not know what their mission in Ukraine was; it was supposed to be peaceful, yet turned out to be something else.