Pop Culture

Paul McCartney's quest to rid world of landmines

Paul McCartney has long been a force for change beginning with his days as a member of The Beatles. He's now lending his voice to raise awareness for another cause, along with his wife Heather, to rid the world of landmines. NBC News correspondent Natalie Morales talked with Sir Paul about his music and his latest cause.

Children are most often the innocent victims of landmines – a problem plaguing one-third of the world's nations. They are devastating leftovers from wars past and present. “The more you look into it, the more it's really shocking, because some of them are made to look like toys, so kids pick these things up,” says rock legend Paul McCartney.

The answer: Paul McCartney and his wife Heather are fighting to clear the world's minefields, one landmine at a time, a cause Princess Diana also admirably championed.

For years the McCartney’s have worked with the Adopt–A-Minefield® campaign to raise awareness.

Paul says he’s met with world leaders like Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about the cause. “A lot of progress is being made,” he says.  “The trouble is it's very difficult for world leaders to just say, “Okay, we won't use landmines,” adds McCartney.

The Adopt–A-Minefield® program moves beyond policy and politics by buying tracts of land, clearing them of mines, and giving countless survivors new prosthetic limbs.

“We want to see a mine-free world so that people in these countries can go to school and not risk getting their legs blown off,” says McCartney.

Both Heather and Paul are raising millions at events like the upcoming fourth annual Adopt–A-Minefield® benefit gala. A replica of McCartney’s Gibson Epiphone guitar will be up for auction.

McCartney used the guitar to compose one of the world's most popular songs, “Yesterday” – a song with enduring appeal.

Paul says, “For me, the thing was, it's a magic song, because I woke up one morning and I dreamed it. Then over the next couple of months, I put proper words to it, because the original words were, ‘scrambled eggs, oh my baby, how I love your legs,’ which I thought, ‘maybe not.’”Today, McCartney’s music continues to move the world and he says it has given him a voice for causes like the problem of landmines. He says, “I feel very grateful that I have people's attention, you know, so that by strumming this guitar, by talking about this, through the music, you can actually take some little guy in Cambodia, some little girl in Iraq, Afghanistan, Croatia and you can actually save their lives and you can actually put them back on the right track and it's all just through music. It’s magic.”

To learn more about the Adopt–A-Minefield® program, visit their Web site: www.landmines.org.

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