After receiving a very intriguing call from my colleagues, about a great time capsule find, I made my immediate departure for a little place we call the Red Zone previously known as Colorado. As I arrive I help my colleagues to unearth a time capsule from the period of the 1960s. We carefully opened the capsule that had intrigued us all so much to find five articles inside that told a great story of our past and of the decade beginning in 1960. The following is a summary of my findings within the capsule.
The first of the five articles contained within the capsule was The Berlin Wall of 1961, also known as “The Iron Curtain”. This wall once more than 30 miles of barbed wire was a barrier between the Communist East Germany and the Democratic West Germany, became a series of concrete walls up to fifteen feet high, 96 miles long and guarded by towers armed with guards. After WWII Germany was split into four zones, three controlled by France, Britain, and The United States, and the other one by The Soviet Union; the Berlin Wall was constructed to separate the zone (East Germany) that was controlled by the Soviet Union from the zones (West Germany) controlled by France, Britain and the United States. It was here at the Berlin Wall that John F. Kennedy gave one of his memorable speeches, “There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin.
There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.” The construction and demolition of the Berlin Wall(1989-90) are important milestones of the Cold War.
The second item found in the capsule was the March on Washington of 1963. Attended by some 250,000 people, it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation’s capital, and one of the first to have extensive television coverage (Ross, 2007). The stated demands of the march were the passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; the elimination of racial segregation in public schools; protection for demonstrators against police brutality; a major public-works program to provide jobs; the passage of a law prohibiting racial discrimination in public and private hiring; a $2 an hour minimum wage; and self-government for the District of Columbia, which had a black majority (Ross,2007).
Demanding jobs and freedom from the nation’s capital this march successfully pressured the Kennedy administration to initiate a civil rights bill in Congress. This is also when Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Although it wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that the demands of the march were met, it was a major point in the peaceful war for civil and equal rights for all Americans. Without this peaceful demonstration the civil rights movement could have been pushed even further back in its effort for an equal nation. The effects of this event can still be seen today as we are now seen as American rather than white and black or rich or poor.
The third item discovered in the capsule was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. On this day President Kennedy accompanied by his wife, John Connelly and his wife Nellie rode in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, TX. It was during this ride that President Kennedy was shot around 12:30 pm the driver then rushed the President to Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:00pm. This horrible travesty shook America for years to come. News of the assassination changed the source of news from then on. Until this point newspapers had been the main source of news, until the assassination which brought on the longest uninterrupted television broadcast to date. The assassination also stuck fear in the African-Americans that the assassination would put a halt to the progress for civil rights. However, the assassination seemed to spur the civil rights movement which resulted in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed by President Lyndon Johnson.
The assassination also changed the way the secret service operates today. Although during those times the President was freer to move around openly, now secret service agents keep the president more secure and his availability limited. It is also thought that had the president not been assassinated the Vietnam War would have ended and many of our troops would not have died. The assassination opens up the possibility of “what if?”, and fueled conspiracy theorist for many, many years to come. This showed the weakness of American by its own hand.
The fourth item in the capsule was the moon landing in 1969. July 16, 9:32am three astronauts (Neil Armstong, Buzz Aldridge, and Michael Collins) sit waiting for launch permission. By 9:44am they are in Earth orbit, July 20 at 10:56pm Neil Armstrong takes his first step on the moon. With more than half a billion people watching on television, he climbs down the ladder and proclaims: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” (htt5). This was proof of great technological advancement and completion of the challenge set forth by President Kennedy over nine years ago. Project Apollo took on a life of its own over the years and left an important legacy to both the nation and the proponents of space exploration. Its success was enormously significant, coming at a time when American society was in crisis (htt6).
This event showed the world and Americans everywhere that The United States was still the ultimate power by demonstrating to the world what the United States could achieve. The moon landing changed the way we viewed the Earth as they pointed a small portable camera toward Earth, showing just how small and fragile the planet really is in the scheme of the universe. The samples taken and brought back from the moon landing opened up knew scientific testing and led the way to multiple other moon landings and advancing our knowledge of space itself.
The last item in the intriguing capsule was the Woodstock Music Festival of 1969. This was a three day concert at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in the town of Bethel. More than half a million people came together – united in a message of peace, openness and cultural expression – and demonstrated how a generation could be heard (htt7) Woodstock is committed to living by its principles – we believe in universal human rights, ethical business practices, unfettered creative expression, free trade, the loving care of our planet, the power of the individual to make a difference, and the overwhelming impact of communities to act as agents of peaceful change (htt7). However, the festival involved music (rock ‘n roll), drugs, sex and nudity. This festival came at a time when American had been through hard times. With the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the assassination of Martin Luther King the United States was tired and weary.
The peaceful concert changed the way music was marketed from then on, now knowing that fans were willing to give up popular amenities to have sight of the musicians they loved. The change on music and pop culture of the time was historic. In 1969, rock critic Ellen Sander appraised the immediate impact of the Festival this way: “No longer can the magical multicolored phenomenon of pop culture be overlooked or underrated. It’s happening everywhere, but now it has happened in one place at one time so hugely that it was indeed historic …. The audience was a much bigger story than the groups. It was major entertainment news that the line-up of talent was of such magnificence and magnitude (thirty-one acts, nineteen of which were colossal) …. These were, however, the least significant events of what happened over the Woodstock weekend.
What happened was that the largest number of people ever assembled for any event other than a war lived together, intimately and meaningfully and with such natural good cheer that they turned on not only everyone surrounding them but the mass media, and, by extension, millions of others, young and old, particularly many elements hostile to the manifestations and ignorant of the substance of pop culture.” (htt8). This change in pop culture has left an undying footprint on the history of the world with its new found music, art and literary styles.
It is clear after examining and researching the incredible articles within the time capsule that the 1960 era was an extreme time of change for the American people. This decade in our history so full of such life changing events not only in the United States but also in other countries that rely on support from the United States. Its story shows our ability to adapt to ever changing situations around us and the resilience of the American people. Whether it is fighting Communism, the loss of a great leader, fighting for our rights, landing on the moon, or expressing or freedom in culture we are a strong nation and when faced with a great challenge we answer that challenge with a great success. Although many have been lost along the way as a whole we stand one nation, united.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.tenfactsabout.co.uk/0003berlinwall.htm (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_march_on_washington_for_jobs_and_freedom/ (n.d.). Retrieved from “Civil Rights March on Washington (History, Facts, Martin Luther King Jr.) | Infoplease.com.” Infoplease. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/19/john-f-kennedy-assassination-racial-equality-jfk (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo11_40th.html (n.d.). Retrieved from http://history.nasa.gov/ap11-35ann/legacy.html (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.woodstock.com/
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.woodstockpreservation.org/SignificanceStatement.htm http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1867.html. (n.d.).
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