The Cold War
I think every American who lived through the 50's and 60's has been through the mass hysteria called, "Duck and Cover."
I remember being terrified. I remember some stupid film with a turtle. I remember being told to hide behind a curb for protection, but I soon realized I could see over the curb and being terrified because it couldn't protect me. I remember hiding under my desk, wondering what all that broken glass would do and knowing my desk wouldn't protect me.
I remember the "Dog Tags," being proud of them. I remember my parents talking when they thought I couldn't hear and saying they were to identify children's bodies. That really got to me. By 12 I was big and strong enough to say "No" and refuse to hide. I caught a lot of flack over that.
When they put an anti-aircraft gun battery in on Grand Island, New York 2 miles from our house I discovered it and haunted the place.
Every time I could get away I'd head there and get in my "Spot" and watch. When the Nike Ajax missiles came I kinda lived there. I'd sit and watch until the weather drove me away. When it would get cold the guards would give me hot chocolate when they had it, they had it a lot. Sometimes they'd let me in and I felt like a king.
I learned how to "Not Be Afraid" there. Listening and talking with them. I think I made mascot. There was a lot of laughter, I wonder how much was at me. They were kind of god-like to me; They got to shoot that missile.
It got to the point where my mother or dad would just show up at the guard shack and take me home. I got a lot of lectures but I kept it up so they stopped. I haven't thought about that in years, but sitting here remembering, I was never really afraid of atomic bombs after that. Those soldiers weren't, or they just showed an awe struck kid what they thought he should know.
Either way, I thank all of you that showed me how to not be afraid. This 77 year old man thanks you. It changed my life for the better.
I can still remember being terrified. I can remember bad dreams and some sleepless nights waiting for the sirens or the flash of light. We went around 24 hours a day waiting for one of the 2. I don't walk around back there too often, it's rather depressing wondering what that did to me and the millions of other kids who went through it. Looking back and reading the histories I know it was all a smoke and mirrors campaign to hide many of the facts about WW2.
That's part of my story of Mass Hysteria.