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Something to Think About

By Remy Benoit

One of my favorite movies growing up, and well, still, is The Day the Earth Stood Still. from 1951.

I liked the scientist with his chalkboard who so reminded me of Dr. Einstein who I would watch on those special science shows. With my children, I have since visited Princeton, seen his home, his classroom, etc. I think of him, perhaps because of his unruly mane, his delightful smile, as "Uncle Albert," even though I never had the privilege of meeting him.

But the thing about this classic movie, made as the Cold War was so chilly, was that it gave hope that one day we could function as people of the earth, pull together, stop our grievances about each other.

As the Cold War progressed with the Korean War,
with Vietnam, often the thought would go through my mind that perhaps an alien invasion would be what it really took to get us to stop making each other miserable.

The years, indeed, the decades, have passed. The Cold War is over though we don't seem to know quite how to proceed without it. All those years of air raid drills that probably made my entire generation somewhat paranoid are over. The cloak closets in schools are gone, their metal hooks for woolen coats replaced with metal lockers for polyester coats. I haven't seen too many yellow boots lately either.

I recall the manual typewriters, the messy carbon paper, the typing the whole page over because you knew, oh yes, the teacher would notice the comma you missed! Now the keyboard is easy, the convenience of the Internet astonishing.

So many changes, so many wars, so many lives and yet still we haven't gotten it right yet.

I have another favorite movie of the same genre. The first time I saw it was my children and their friends. The special effects are so much more advanced than the movie from l951, but Bill Pullman's message is so much the same when he speaks as President addressing the problem of the aliens.

Something to think about for the weekend of the 4th of July. Independence Day. 1996.


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This item is part of 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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