Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Thoughts on Obama’s Inauguration

Everybody has been saying what an historic event President Obama’s inauguration is, and it reminded me of all the historic events I have lived through in my 60+ years. I think the first historic event I was really aware of was the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, and the end of the Korean War which followed shortly thereafter. I remember President Eisenhower making a speech to the nation on TV (a novelty back then) and announcing a truce. Here’s a list of some of the historic events I especially remember:

-The launching of Sputnik by the Soviets in 1957;
-The Civil Rights struggle in general (thanks to on-the-scene TV coverage), especially the mowing down of peaceful demonstrators with fire hoses;
-The election and inauguration of John Kennedy in 1960 and 1961 respectively;
-The Cuban missile crisis, especially the evening when President Kennedy spoke to the nation on TV (we thought that by the next day we might be at war);
-The assassination of Kennedy on November 22, 1963 (and those next few days glued to the TV as events continued to unfold);
-The speech by Lyndon Johnson saying he would not run for reelection in 1968 (we hoped the Viet Nam war would soon be over);
-Most of the terrible events of 1968, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. (and the riots which followed), and of Robert F. Kennedy – it seemed as if the country were coming apart;
-The first landing on the moon in July of 1969;
-The killing of Kent State students by the National Guard;
-The resignation of Richard Nixon (and the months preceding it);
-The taking of hostages from the American embassy in Iran in 1979;
-The collapse of the Soviet Union and the freeing of the Eastern European countries from communist rule;
-The Challenger disaster;
-The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993;
-The burning of the Waco compound in 1993;
-The first Gulf War (especially the evening the attack began);
-The new millennium (and the hopes and fears associated with it);
-The housing, financial, and economic meltdowns of 2008;
-The election and inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

A lot more happened, of course, but these are the events that I vividly remember and that made an impression on me. I have images in my mind for each of those e vents – from TV coverage, pictures in Life Magazine, or pictures from newspapers. I have lived through exciting times, both good and bad. I just hope and pray that from now on, most of the excitement will be of a positive nature.

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