The Peace Generation

The 60’s.  I was a teenager.    It was a fascinating and eventful time to be young.   I wish I had paid better attention.   The world and especially the United States was full of turmoil.  The assassination of JFK in 1963 was a traumatic incident for our country.  People openly wept in public in small towns and cities alike.  It was a shared tragedy like none other. And it was just the beginning.

The 60’s were full of unrest, maybe the most unrest since the Civil War.   For the first time there was widespread protest of war on foreign soil.  My parents didn’t understand it.  They were from the WWII era where most supported the United States War efforts and did everything they could to support the troops and each other.

The 60’s were rampant with racial unrest.  Blacks wanted to attend the same schools as whites.   Blacks demanded equal voting rights and simple rights like using a public restroom or riding a bus.  It was difficult for me to understand all of this.  I lived in the Midwest in farm country.   We had one or two black families in our school district.  They were friends and neighbors.  I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.  But I watched the news and saw white people throw things at black students and spit on them.  I watched as thousands of people marched in Alabama demanding equality.  I read about the Ku Klux Klan and the deaths of innocent young black men and women.  It was as foreign to me as  life on Mars.

During the year of my high school graduation, 1968, all hell broke loose.  Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated within months of each other. The Democratic National Convention in Chicago turned into a bloody mess.  It’s hard to even imagine that all of this happened. And as a young adult, I felt sometimes that the world was crashing down around me. We were on the eve of destruction.

My generation has been called the Peace Generation. We were not the first.  From the beginning of time there has always been a Peace Generation. People prefer peace to violence.   No one wants to send their sons and daughters to war.

Didn't raise my boy to be a soldier

In the 60’s I felt pretty helpless to change what was happening all around me.  As a college student, I attended rallies and peace marches.  I signed petitions and sang protest songs.  I felt like I was making a difference.  I was young and optimistic.

I taught my children that fighting was wrong.  I have remained silent to avoid confrontation.  I don’t know if that was the right thing to do.   I have joined the Bloggers for Peace to continue conversations about Peace.  There are so many wars going on in our world today.  Not just battles and armies.  Battles of prejudice and acceptance rage daily.  I can’t control the armies of the world, but I can make a difference by speaking out and acting out against all types of prejudices.  So that everyone can have Peace.

If you want to know what the Bloggers for Peace is all about, check out these links:



About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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15 Responses to The Peace Generation

  1. marcusampe says:

    In the sixties we had many dreams, of which some are still not broken, though perhaps many who stood on the barricades fighting had become the same capitalist people they fought against. But some of us, like you seem to have gone through with their ideas of a better world for all.

    In 1968 I detested also the violence (throwing cars over, putting them on fire, smashing windows of shops, etc) and tried to convince others that we could bring change in a peaceful way. It would not be easy, it is still not easy, but this pacifist way of ‘counter-reaction’ has still to go on.


  2. Pingback: Have a PEACE! « Cheri Speak

  3. Pingback: Peace, Love, and Valentines « Radical Amazement

  4. Dave says:

    Well, you too remember it all, and it was definitely good. Of course, as you point out, there were some tragic negative historical events accompanying the times, as well.

    My mother, like yours, a product of the WWII era, could not totally understand our generation of peace. I discovered my Father was quite understanding even though serving in WWII, he was able to separate, and discern there was a difference between Vietnam, and WWII. While not sporting the look, he too was very much a part of the peace generation.

    I do think, we had a very strong generation seeking peace, and we still do but, I think never better understood than, right now.

    I grew up in Los Angeles so, I was right there for much of it. A Summer 1967 high school grad. I fondly remember the ‘Summer of Love,’ sporting the look with hair down to my elbows, purple & black bell bottoms, pink flared shirt, and sandals, feeling quite at home on Hollywood Blvd.


  5. I too…a young teen from the ’60s…was aware of the turmoil…but, not actually understanding…As teens we just want to have fun…and rightly so I think…I see my own Granddaughter during these present datys of unrest…and worldly conflicts…and she has no real interest as we …She wants to dream of college…a future…and love…I hope it will be able to continue…From my perspective it is not looking good at all…


  6. ah yes… I remember that phrase! Thanks.


  7. Really enjoyed this, Ruth. I was somehow shielded from much of this, and learned most of what I know from history classes. What a great post to start for Bloggers for Peace.


  8. Kozo says:

    Thank you, Ruth, not just for this post, but for all you have done for peace over the years. Thank you for not giving up hope. Thank you for teaching your children to be the peacemakers of the future. I agree with reelingintheyears–Keep on keepin’ on.


  9. lucewriter says:

    Great post, Ruth! I was a whippersnapper, but have very vivid memories of the Kennedy assassination, and that we were at a band concert when they announced that MLKJr had been shot. I love that you work toward peace.


  10. I was born in South Africa during the Apartheid. I grew up in New York and saw my fair share of prejudice and racism. I was actually bussed to a “black school” so I was the minority. I know what racial and religious tension looks like. I get very emotional when I see injustice. It goes right to my very core. Any effort to support peace is a worthwhile effort in my eyes. Bloggers for peace sounds like a wonderful group.
    I hope someday soon we can enter into a period of higher thinking and enlightenment.


    • That is fascinating information. I lived such a sheltered life compared to you. My first experience with any kind of minorities was my student teaching experience. It took place in a suburban school but the class I worked with (Special Education) was bussed from the inner city. My cooperating teacher was black and the class was entirely black and Mexican-American. What culture shock I went through.
      Have you blogged about your experiences in South Africa/New York?


  11. Ruth–loving your posts! Keep on, keeping on! (As they used to say…)


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