Woodstock seems like an entirely different arena, yet it really isn't that far removed. The headlines of war in 1969 stoked many of the songs and dreams and, well, hallucinations that generated from those fields in upper-state New York.
As today marks the 40th anniversary of that mudfest of a generation's coming out, you probably have been overwhelmed with reminisces. But I hope you take some time to read Jim Jones' story today with some of our local voices, and reflect back as some of our columnists and letter writers have.
Jim decided to look for locals who were there after he and I talked about where we were that summer. I probably had no clue Woodstock was happening, other than some wild songs hitting K-SHE FM in St. Louis, and my parents yelling at me for tuning in. I had just graduated from grade school in '69, and was terrified/thrilled/paralyzed that high school was on the horizon. Jim? He was getting ready for a second tour of duty in Vietnam.
Jim's story gives a wakeup call to what our generation hoped for, and what some perceive as a letdown.
“It was the feeling like we could change the world — and then we grew up and didn’t do it,” Nancy Hartman, an artist from Sarasota, told Jim.
I'd like to put my money with Brian Finelli of Bradenton Beach, who wrote in his letter to the editor today:
"But, if I learned one lesson back then, it’s to live in the present, be there now. It’s funny how today I feel like I’m returning to the spirit of that glorious event.
"Peace on Earth."
I think I'll challenge Nancy Hartman that there's still plenty of time. And I'll also bank on Universal Desk Editor Jason Bartolone's front-page layout today, which incorporated that timeless peace sign that was a Woodstock logo:
WOODSTOCK NATIONPeace rules.
Manatee remembers a time of peace, love and change