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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Coming of Age in 1968

    Image result for 1968 year in pictures

    1968 was probably the most formidable year for me growing up.  It was the year I graduated from high school and that means I will be headed back home this Summer to my 50th class reunion.  As this is the first reunion I will have attended it will be strange seeing fellow graduates who I remember as a 17 or 18 year old.  Facebook has given me an idea of how some of my classmates have aged.
     What brought back some memories of that year was the assassination of Bobby Kennedy exactly 50 years ago.  I was awakened by a call from my Grandmother at 5 am telling me to turn on the TV as Bobby Kennedy had been shot.  Somehow the preparations for my graduation later that week suddenly seemed insignificant.
     In 1968 as an 18 year old male I had to register for the draft but couldn't vote till I turned 21.  Being drafted to fight in Vietnam without being able to vote was the main reason the voting age was lower to 18.  When I see the reaction of high school students to school shootings today I remember the reactions I had to the assassinations and a foreign war that were played out on the television every night.  The turbulence of that year culminated with the police violence at the Democratic National Convention that Summer.  1968 was a seminal year for many of my baby boomer generation as we went off to college or get drafted.   50 years later 2018 seems to be headed toward the same type of turbulence that will have current 18 year olds feeling the same way 50 years from now.

     The idealism that struck a cord with so many of us back then is best heard in the words of Bobby Kennedy from a speech he gave in South Africa.   Oh to hear this type of speech today!


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