I was nine and a half. I remember waking up that morning, because Mom’s voice was funny when she called to us. She’d been crying.
I remember we road the bus to school in silence because our driver was crying. Then I walked into my classroom and our teacher was sobbing. Quietly.
The entire day we were practically silent – even on the playground. We weren’t sure what to do. We were children, but we knew something terrible had happened because sadness had gripped all the adults in our little world. We didn’t want to make it worse. So, we just moved in silence.
For a long while after, it felt like there would be no more happiness. That it had all come to end.
I will always remember the silence of the children and the weeping of the adults that horrible day in 1968.
There are days when I turn on the TV or read a news headline and I feel like it’s still 1968. We watched an old Dick Cavett show last night and sat in silence shaking our heads. When it ended, D looked at me and said, “that conversation could have taken place today.”
I wonder why it is we are unable to learn from our past. Why we are content to keep repeating the same foolish behaviors. Why we find it so hard to truly love one another in a supposed ‘christian‘ nation.
Well, one of the things I’ve learned in a half-century of life is that history will repeat itself. Again and again and again – until we choose to write a future that is free of the chains of the past.