Monday, May 18, 2015

My "Generation"

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
                                              "Ohio" by Neil Young

On May 4, 1970 four students were killed and nine wounded by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio during a protest against the Vietnam War.  The war was already a hotly debated topic and the incident further polarized public opinion. I was nine years old at the time and didn't understand what the war was about or why we were a part of it. I only wondered if America's involvement would drag on until I was old enough to face the military draft. The previous decade had already been a time of upheaval and uncertainty in America  and the 1970s apparently would provide more of the same. 

I was born October 5, 1960. By the time I was 14 years old our nation had witnessed the following events:  President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and civil rights activists Medgar Evers, Malcolm X,  and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. The Beatles came to  the U.S. and the British Invasion began.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.  Men walked on the moon. Woodstock brought attention to peace and music.  Entertainers Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Cass Elliott had untimely deaths. Music artists Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died of drug related causes and Sam Cook was murdered.  The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowed 18 year olds to vote.  The advertising of cigarettes was banned from television and radio. The attempted assassination of Alabama governor George Wallace left him in a wheelchair.  Vice President Spiro T. Agnew  resigned  due to criminal charges. President Richard Nixon made a historic visit to China and later resigned due to the Watergate scandal.   Actress Sharon Tate and six others were murdered by Charles Manson and his "family".   The Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade ruled that the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion.  Skylab was launched as the United State's first space station.  Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record.  That is just a sampling. 
These were the formative years of my generation.  Of course a "generation" can't be precisely defined and any time period you might choose would have it's own memorable happenings and changes.
What are some of yours?  How do you think about them now?