Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do You Remember the Real 1960s?

By Herb Leibacher

Forty years ago it was the 1960s. This was the time of hippies, free love, hula hoops, the Peppermint Lounge, the twist, the Beatles, the British invasion, and peace signs. It was also the time of integration, freedom marches, the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and LSD. If today's young people seem to be out of control, you should compare them to the young people of the sixties.

If you have ever seen the movie "Hair" then you think you know everything there is to know about the sixties. You would be very surprised to discover that things just weren't like that.

There were very serious young people who were graduating from high school and getting ready to go off to college. For the first time in their lives, they were going to be without the influence of their parents. There would be no moral compass to dictate to them what was right and what was wrong. It was the big step to adulthood. These "kids" weren't hippies. The guys might have started to wear their hair a little longer but you could still tell the girls from the boys.

Most colleges required the girls to wear dresses instead of pants on campus. Dormitories were still separate. Boys weren't allowed above the first floor of the dorm and then they were only allowed in the sitting room. Few of these young people had their own cars. Many of them had to pay their own way through college by working on top of a full load of classes. These "kids" respected their parents and loved their country. Most of them did not want to go to war.

There were young people who got married as soon as they were of draft age because the married "kids" got called up after the single ones. Many children were conceived as insurance against the draft. Those who couldn't get a deferment for college or marriage had to face the fact that they were Vietnam bound if a draft notice made it to their mailbox. Some of these "kids" ran. They snuck across the border to Mexico or Canada to hide from the draft. There were organizations to help them change their identity, find a place to live and make a new life. Sadly, some of the people never saw their families again.

Those who got drafted sucked it up and put on the uniform. Some of them made the service their career. Some of them were killed by the Vietnamese with their jungle terror tactics that were not part of the training our service offered.

Some of the ones who were sent to 'Nam never came home. There were prisoners of war that were never found and freed. There were prisoners of war who came home in every way except mentally. There were prisoners of war who eventually escaped but were afraid to come back to their own country because life as they knew it was over. Many of our "kids" stayed in the jungle framed villages where the natives welcomed them. In their minds their world is gone and they can never go home again. They left behind families who will never know what happened.

The sixties was also a time of terrorist activity in the United States. The Weather Underground or the Weathermen began in 1969. They were an offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society. They wanted to overthrow the U.S. government and install a sort of dictatorship to "even out" things and "spread the wealth". The sixties was also the time of the Chicago Seven, the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and domestic bombings.

Much of the truth about the 1960s has largely been glossed over in favor of stories about free-loving hippies. But the truth is that the decade was one of great trial and stress for our country and its people. And many of the ideas impact the people that are now impacting our country.

Herb likes to keep his car looking good. Please check out his website with information on car carpet cleaner supplies and details on car upholstery cleaner.

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