Princess Muse

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musings on History and Current Events

I'm 46 years old, by the calendar, but inside, I feel more like a 20-something.  Sometimes, it's hard to remember that I'm older than a lot of my friends (thanks to the fact that I had children a little later than most people), since a lot of the people I hang out with are the parents of my children's schoolmates.  It's pretty funny sometimes, because I'll mention something that happened when I was in high school or college and they'll look at me funny and say something like, "Oh, I was 10 when that happened."

Being a Social Scientist by degree, with a strong interest in History, I'm aware of the Speed of Time.  As Einstein noted, Time is Relative.  What is Current History for me (i.e., the Cuban Missile Crisis--happened a few years before I was born, but close enough to my lifetime that it's still a Current Event), will appear like Ancient History to my boys.

So, here are a few more Current Events (for me) that will be Old News to them:

The Cold War (roughly 1946- 1991)
  Okay, a lot of things happened here long before I was born, but, let's face it,  the Cold War shaped a lot of the influences in my life:  The Apollo Program, the Vietnam War, my living in Germany (heck, my parents even meeting was influenced by the Cold War--my Mom was a teacher from Nebraska teaching at the DODSEUR (I think it stand for Dept of Defense Schools-Europe) in Baumholder and my Dad was an Army Officer from Florida and was stationed there.)  The Cold War was why I got to live in West Germany for three years.  I even wrote a paper for a job application predicting the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Apollo Space Program (1961-1975)
  Started before my time, but the manned flights started when I was about 2 or 3 (depends on if you count the launch rehearsal fire that killed Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee as being a manned "flight" or not.)  We used to watch all the television coverage.  I can remember chanting along with the television during the Countdown to Ignition and Liftoff.

The Vietnam War (November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975)
  The War was half over by the time I was born, but combat units weren't truly deployed until 1965.  Obviously, as an Army Brat, I was very aware of the War, but as a kid, I wasn't really sure what was happening, just that my Daddy wasn't home.  I'm not sure I really knew where my dad was the first time he was deployed to Vietnam, but I remember waving to every plane I saw flying overhead.

Watergate and Nixon Resigns (June 17, 1972 and August 9, 1974)
  I remember Nixon's Resignation a little better than the actual scandal, because my mom called me and my friends in from playing so we could watch Nixon leaving the White House for the last time.

The Assassination of Aldo Moro (May 9, 1978)
  Okay, not an assassination that means a lot to most Americans, but I remember it because I went to Italy a few weeks after this happened.  My friend Amy and I practiced our "commando" moves just in case the Red Brigade decided to take over our tour bus.  Not likely to happen, but with American military personnel and their families on the tour, not entirely out of the realm of likeliness.  Aldo Moro was the Italian Premiere who was kidnapped by the Red Brigade (an Italian terrorist group) and killed.

The Space Shuttle Program (1981-2011)
  I'm using the dates that NASA sent the Space Shuttles into orbit.  The Enterprise was a test shuttle (a fact that I suspect most Trekkies are a little bitter about--I mean, really.  Name the Shuttle after a TV space ship but never use it in a mission?  C'mon!)  The Columbia first went into orbit on April 12, 1981.
   The Challenger Disaster, on January 28, 1986, I remember very well.  I was at FSU, walking between classes, when I heard a loud explosion.  I looked up and could see the aftereffects of the explosion.  I dashed into Suwannee Arcade (where the Administrative Offices were) and asked one of the secretaries if they knew what that explosion was.  She turned to me and said, "The Shuttle just blew up."  I was shocked.  It was also my friend Sheridan's birthday.  He was in French class at the time, but about to get out, so I ran over to tell him what had happened.  Not a happy birthday for him.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall (November 9, 1989)
  The late 1980's saw the beginning of the End of the Cold War.  The people of many Eastern Bloc countries, such as Hungary, and Poland, were demanding more freedoms and economic opportunities.  In October, 1989, I was applying for a job with a government agency and had to write a paper analyzing a current event and make a prediction, based on reports, of what would be happening in the near future.  East Germany had just opened the border between it and West Germany.  As I read reports of how many East Germans were crossing over into West Germany, I wrote in my paper that I thought East and West Germany would have to reunite.  A few weeks later, the Berlin Wall fell.

The Columbine Massacre (April 20, 1999)
  I was teaching 7th grade at this point.  Mostly, I remember teachers and administrators wondering how we A) talk about this with our students, and B) how we make sure this couldn't happen at our school.  I remember my students being worried about it happening at our school.

9/11 (Ummm...yeah, 9/11/01)
  I was at home with my Older (at the time Only) Son.  I was just getting us ready to go to the store  when the channel was accidentally changed from PBS to ABC.  At the time, the first plane had just hit the first of the Twin Towers.  I thought (as many probably did at first) that this was a tragic accident, that somehow the plane had malfunctioned and the pilot flew into the Tower.  Then, it happened again.  When the plane hit the Pentagon, I was in such shock.  I called my mom, hoping that we didn't know anyone stationed at the Pentagon. (We didn't.)

The Iraq/Afghanistan War (March 19, 2003 to Present Day)
So many things.  So many conflicting emotions.  I think I'm going to have to let this one sit for awhile and let History sort it out.

The Election of Barack Obama (November, 2008)
  No matter how History treats the Presidency of Mr. Obama, I just remember how proud I was that an African-American could be elected president based on his Ideals.  I really thought I'd be so much older (or even dead) before this would happen.

Well, all this heavy thinking has given me a headache (okay, I already had a headache, but still....).  Time to go aMuse myself.

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