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American Baby Boomer History, pt.1

 

Take A Walk On The Mild Side

Take A Walk On The Mild Side

Little Baby Boomers launched into the world between 1946-1964, the year after WWII ended and LBJ’s first elected Presidential year.

Imagine the tension, the residual stress, from a global upheaval that included carpet bombing and comfort women.

They did what they had to do to save the world from Nazis and crazed Japanese militants and it didn’t stop when they came home.

Johnny came marching home from a ruined Europe but nothing ruined the experiences they had in the backwater supply lines through Italy and France.

During their occupation of Europe and Japan, our American troops found women different from the girls back home.

The fellas came home and got married, leaving the chocolate, cigarettes, and nylons in London, Rome and Paris.

That’s the love nest Boomers dropped into. Dad was a world beater and mom ruled his world. The stage was set.

If that wasn’t enough, the Cold War spooked the Greatest Generation. The threat of being recalled to another war hung in the air. Then it dropped when Korea turned hot in 1950.

Draftees, volunteers, and WWII vets got their notice.

The Forgotten War ought to be remembered as a meat grinder. Nearly forty thousand died in a short time frame.

The Korean War cease-fire got signed in 1953, just in time for the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. That opened the door to Americans in Vietnam. Who felt the threat of another deployment? Everyone, but that was ten years later.

Early and Middle Boomers arrived in times of strife. 1946-1958 had war drafts and a newly red China, hydrogen bombs and new jets leaving contrails high across the sky.

A Boomer born in 1954 was in the fourth grade when JFK died. He was in the lunch room on the west coast when crying teachers, tough women who paddled their students for late homework, told everyone to go home.

Have you watched the funeral? The ordeal seemed to go on for a week, which was an eternity for fourth graders who had no clue about the gravity of the event.

Five years later the same young Boomer woke up to an alarm clock radio report saying Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis.

Two months later the same radio came alive saying Robert Kennedy was down in LA. He lay in bed thinking, “Flesh wound, make it a flesh wound. Guys like this don’t get gunned down. His brother was gunned down. That’s enough for one family.”

But, no.

Gun death formed Boomer America, ready or not. Generations X, Y, and the Millennials will never feel the shifts Boomers experienced, but they have their own.

They’ll read about history, talk to someone, but it won’t be urgent. It won’t be life changing, and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Part of the 79 million Boomers in America had first hand history lessons that still echoes the pain of the past.

What events will carry the same power decades from today?

 

 

About David Gillaspie

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