The Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis, assassination of JFK, murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, explosion of the Civil Rights Movement. Suddenly, marches and sit-ins and bombs and hippies and peace and free love and hatred and drugs and watching the killing and dying and body-counts and riots on television.
I just wanted it all to stop; to be normal; to be relatively safe. I just wanted to think the world (or at least the country) was good, politicians were honest, war was necessary, our leaders were leading. I just wanted to think boys were dying for a worthy cause-never in vain. I wanted to think right would prevail.
I lived outside of a small town in a rural area. We had no black people in our world until high school; one African-American boy. Most of us liked this kid.
Then Martin Luther King, Jr. was on the scene. I didn't get why he was needed; why he was adding to the unrest flooding the U.S., the world. I had never been exposed to the pervasive prejudice and segregation. Never knew about separate drinking fountains, separate bathrooms, separate schools, back of the bus-rides, all-white colleges, universities, politics, hotels, sports teams, sports venues, armed services, churches, neighborhoods, theaters... every aspect possible was divided. "Separate but equal"? REALLY!
April 4, 1968-Martin Luther King, Jr. gunned down. June 6, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy gunned down. Such sorrow, such confusion, such turmoil and chaos. Such innocence lost.
Many changes for the better; segregation legislated away. Wish hatred and prejudice could be legislated out of our hearts. Equality and justice and love for all.
So, thanks MLK, protestors, marchers, agitators, workers, martyrs, all who could not/would not accept the status quo. I used to fear you. Now I admire you.