I grew up in the 1960s. Graduated from high school in the 1970s. It's worth a look back because it is a forgotten time.
of the men in our lives were WWII veterans. The war had been the
defining experience of their lives. It shaped them and their view of the
world. They shaped us, mostly for the good.
The world we lived in had been essentially reshaped by the war. The United States and the Allies had won at great cost and then rebuild western Europe and Japan. The Soviet Union, once our ally, had become the enemy in the ideological battle for freedom. The development of the atom bomb and the subsequent arms race seemed to underlay everything.
Not only had we won, but the continental United States had been unscathed. Our factories, filled with trained workers, built cars and trucks, televisions, appliances, clothing, and exported it to the world. The economy hummed along, unquestioned. If it was good for GM, it was good for the country.
Schools taught history and social studies from what would now be seen as a very narrow lens. The United States was a great, free, country. We had an amazing history. Our Founders were heroes. Westward expansion, the growth of the country in the 19th Century, all our inventions and developments, all were good things, unmarred by human tears.
Television and the movies had discovered that WWII could be mined for stories. Great movies, good TV shows, and even a comedy call Hogan's Heroes. We were all immersed in the history and pseudo-history. We played cowboys and indians some. But we played war more. I never had an expensive toy like this, but here's a window into what I am trying to describe.
carried a pocket knife everywhere. From the time my father got me a
Scout knife for my birthday, I always had it with me. It was a tool.
Never thought of using it as a weapon. I kept it oiled and sharp and put
my housekey on the loop so I would always know where the key was.
Grew up hiking and camping, wore my Scout uniform to school on Scout Day, wanted to be a military pilot. I remember when it became clear that I needed glasses because my first thought was that I would never get to fly a jet and I felt the disappointment so strongly that I can still feel echoes of it as I write this.
I miss the country I grew up in.