Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Blast from the Past

It was a truly delightful week in small town America. My wife and I joined our grandsons at the County Fair! Actually it's called the Central Mississippi Fair as it covers several rural counties.

My two grandsons are two and five years old respectively, the perfect ages to visit the county fair. It's exciting to view the exhibits, the rides, the lights, the food and the carnival games through their young eyes. Everything is a delight! There is no cynicism, no negativism, just pure joy.

As an "old timer" who grew up in the 1950's when fairs were bigger, brighter, and substantially better attended, I can look back and see tremendous differences between then and now. But, in those days county fairs had virtually no competition. In the 1950's there were no video games, no arcades, almost no television, no computers, virtually no fast food (no McDonald's???), and no distractions.

When the traveling carnival with its fast moving metal machines, bright lights, loud music, big tents, plush teddy bears and food stands set up in the vacant field, it was a wonder to the senses.

In the 1950's carnivals brought things to town that you could literally see and do only once a year! Today, the carnival seems tame, dirty and old. A pale imitation of the worlds you can visit on your video game, local mall, arcade, Chuckie Cheese, Dave & Busters, or the nearby Six Flags or Disney World.

The traveling carnivals have fallen on hard times. The carnival visiting our little town had old, well worn rides with most of the lights missing. Some had 50 coats of paint and might well be the same machines I had ridden when I was five. But none of the mattered to my grandsons. It was all new, bright and shiny to them.

Thinking of the 1950's let's remember that it was only a few years earlier, August 6, 1945 that President Harry Truman effectively ended World War Two by ordering the use of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. A few thousand people around the world will note the tragedy today in prayer and moments of silence. LINK: CLICK HERE

While we're remembering all the joys of the 1950's, we need to remember the school air raid drills and the "duck and cover" maneuvers under our little school desks. For the last 60 years we have lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation.

At this point we're nearing 3,000 tragic deaths of American Soldiers in Iraq. And let's not forget that thousands of Iraqis have also died. But 220,000 died in Hiroshima. 220,000 in one day, one moment.

It is also important to note that on this day, exactly 61 years from the moment the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (and don't think for a second that this timing was accidental), the Iranian President Ahmadinejad rejected all demands that Iran cease it's rapid development of atomic weapons. LINK: CLICK HERE

In fact Terhan announced that Iran will expand, not suspend, uranium enrichment, in defiance of a U.N. Security Council resolution.

It's also no coincidence that that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also proposed his solution for ending violence in the middle east: the destruction and removal of Israel from the planet.

I'm so pleased we could share a tiny part of the past with our grandchildren this past week. I'm glad they could experience the fun of an old fashioned county fair.

It's tragic that I am forced to share another legacy of the 1950's with my grandchildren, the constant fear of nuclear war and destruction. The fear that a dictator will use nuclear weapons to further his own ambitions or his own warped view of the world order.

We had all hoped the end of the cold war had brought that era to a close.

I guess we all better practice to duck and cover.




1 comment:

Vigilante said...

Wizard, I also go back - way back - almost as far back as you. So check me on my recollections: The Soviets built and tested their first atomic bomb in the early 50's and their first 'thermo-nuclear' hydrogen bomb by the mid-50's (say). Now it's my recollection that during the period of Herman Kahn and John Birch Society that followed in the early stages of USA-USSR nuclear deterrence (mutually assured destruction - MAD), that some right wingers looked back nostalgically for the days when we had the bomb and the Soviets didn't; and that wouldn't it have been great if we could have whacked them before they had something to whack us back with? Back in those bad ol' days of crawling under desks in school drills, those wistful thoughts occurred to many of us.

Now, the way the whole thing turned out with cool-headed patience, diplomatic assertiveness and cautious statesmanship, we all agree that The Cold War (now called by some as World War III) turned out okay. Right? Much better than America being written down in history as the authors of countless additional Hiroshimas and Nagasakis with Russian suffixes?

Is this not a lesson for us in our current confrontation with the idiot-madman in Tehran? All we need is leaders honed with the same skills as before and we can hopeful?

Thanks for bringing up this somber subject on this date. We all need to pause, ponder and reflect.

I'll try to make my county's next county fair.