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By Remy Benoit

    This was handed to me today in the office. A little piece, author unknown, called "How Did We Survive?"

    It is a good indicator on how much the world has changed at a personal growing up level.
    It seemed a more simple world, but it wasn't, not truly, this century that has passed.

    There was the First of the World Wars. There was the second of the World Wars.
    
    There was a Red Scare in 1919.  There was Tail-gunner Joe McCarthy.

    There was a Russian Revolution; there was the Maoist Revolution.

    There was Prohibition, Al Capone, a world wide depression.

    Names like Stalin, Hitler, Hirohito, Tito, Khrushchev, Ho Chi Minh filled the airways.

    The post World War two generations grew up with the Cold War, with the Arms Race, with MAD. We lived through Korea, Sputnik, the October Days.

    We mourned through a succession of assassinations, watched our cities burn; saw terrible numbers of body bags on the five o'clock news; learned of a place called Watergate.

    We listened to Barbara Jordan's wonderful voice, melodious, even in outrage.

    We learned the names Rosa Parks, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinam.

    We heard, I shall not seek nor accept....

    We heard, I shall resign the office of President....

    We know the numbers of our Veterans on the streets.

    We are learning about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
  
    We are aware of the true meaning of terror.

    We have BIG questions to ask; BIG answers to find.

    We speak of political correctness, of multi-culturalism, but still think in terms of them and us.

    And yet, we have survived as this unknown author says.  

    Our voice is strong, if we use it.

    Our dream lives, if we actively persue it.

    We have survived. HOW we survive depends on us.

    And now, From those thrilling days of yesteryear......remember when:

  
    HOW DID WE SURVIVE?

    Looking back, it's hard to believe
    that we have lives as long as we have.
    As children we would ride in cars
    with no seat belts or air bags.

    Riding in the back of a pickup truck
    on a warm day was
    always a special treat.

    Our baby cribs were painted with
    bright colored lead based paint.  We often
    chewed on the crib, ingesting the paint.

    We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles,
    doors, or cabinets, and when
    when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

    We drank water from the garden hose
    and not from a bottle.

    We would spend hours building our go-carts out
    of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find
    out that we forgot the brakes.  After running into the
    bushes a few times we learned to solve the
    problem

    We would leave home in the morning and play
    all day, as long as we were back when the
    streetlights came on.  No one was able to
    reach us all day.

    We played dodge-ball and sometimes the ball
    would really hurt.  We ate cupcakes,
    bread and butter, and drank sugar soda,
    but we were never overweight; we were always
    outside playing.
  
    Little League had tryouts and not everyone
    made the team
    Those who didn't had to learn to deal with
    disappointment.

    Some students weren't as smart
    as others or didn't work hard
    so they failed a grade and were held
    back to repeat the same grade.

    That generation produced some of the greatest
    risk-takeers and problem solvers.  We had
    freedom, failure, success and responsibility,  
    and we learned how to deal with it all.
    

Some links that touch on some of the above topics:

Betty Friedan."

Father Knows Best.
  
New Deal Network.

Mao Zedong.

Why Prohibition.

Red Scare.

Watergate.

General Giap.

Where have all the flowers gone?.

House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

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This item is part of WelcomeHomeSoldier.com: historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.


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