As we wrap up 2017, I wasn't surprised that it was a very tumultuous year. Glancing back at the news in review will support this. Looking forward to 2018 wilI be reflection and hope that it can be better — will it? Have we progressed?
Change grinds on slowly. Looking back 50 years as described in the January 2018 Smithsonian periodical, one can see this — "Innovation. Rebellion. Crisis. Tragedy," was the clarion call at the top of page one of this issue describing 1968. Sound familiar? Nineteen sixty-eight saw the Vietnam 'Tet' Offensive; the horror of My Lai; the Prague Spring; the Democratic convention chaos; the protest by women at the Miss America pageant; the dawn of personal computers and internet; the Apollo 8 mission, and the murder of both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and more.
Probably the most shocking in '68 were the dual assassinations of MLK and RFK. I was a lad of 14 and my family watched the murders on TV as reported by CBS News. RFK was killed as he left the stage, in the kitchen, from a speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles; MLK was assassinated atop a motel balcony in Memphis.
They have preserved the motel as a shrine of that great man seeking peace and civil rights. Ironically, the Ambassador Hotel was closed and razed in 1989. The land being sought after by real estate billionaires headed by Donald Trump with absolutely no attention and respect for a shrine for RFK, but rather plans to build a 125-story tower. When the L.A. Unified School District won the site through eminent domain, Trump responded they " … grabbed the land as viciously as in Nazi Germany. "
As it turns out peace, harmony and education for today's generation ultimately won; a new school catering to a diverse student population of inner city youth now graces most of the site. The students have done a remarkable job in turning it into a shrine as well as their school, with art and murals depicting UK everywhere because he too, championed equal rights.
Maybe this development will be the winds of change, a trend toward true American greatness — for all.
E. Patrick Carroll