The 1960s represented a decade of contradictions. It was an era of equality and enlightenment. But, it also was a time haunted by social injustices. It was a period of peace; and, yet, the nation was involved in a long, strange, and sad Asian war. It was a time of knowledge; and, simultaneously, the 60’s were plagued by paranoia and hysteria. We reached for the stars in the 60’s; others preferred to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” However, two significant events during 1969 captured the essence of the 1960s.
Fifty years ago, on July 20 1969, Neil Armstrong took a “giant leap” for humanity. That single step catapulted mankind from a limited awareness of the Earth and its place in the solar system to a much broader, extra-terrestrial perspective. That “one small step” has changed the way society views the heavenly bodies; perhaps, with the hope of someday reaching other planets and galaxies. The Apollo 11 lunar landing rekindled a spirit of exploration and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. As such, the moon landing helped to foster – and nurture – an environment receptive to a new generation of eager scientists, so they can strive to go boldly where on one has gone before.
The Woodstock Music Festival during August 15-18 defined the 60’s. Woodstock was both a peaceful protest against the tormenting events of the 60’s and a global celebration of sharing, harmony, peace, love, and understanding. For the very first time ever; the musicians, fans, and activists of the 60’s came together and became united by the same vision of world peace. A musical event the caliber of Woodstock has yet to be duplicated; and, considering what the music industry has become, it never will. The music industry of today is the complete antithesis of Woodstock.
John Di Genio