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Brock: Looking back on the class of 1974

Scores of folks will line up to watch the annual Roughrider Days parade on Saturday. It’ll include the floats of class reunions.

I have never attended a class reunion in large part because I moved so far away and partly because I’m not sure it is legally safe to return to the area. I am envious, however, of folks who are close enough geographically and socially to gather every 10 years.

This year’s best folks undoubtedly will be those riding on the 1974 floats because that is the year I graduated in Arizona. I remember being so much smarter and wiser 40 years ago as a 17-year old graduate. John Lennon’s songs taught my class all we needed was love and challenged us to just imagine a far better world then we had inherited. I remember being so idealistic and sure that my class was destined to fix so many of the world’s problems. My parent’s generation had really gummed up the world, and how thankful they should be that we were to set about fixing their mess.

The year we graduated from high school, the Vietnam War was winding down, and while some of our class protested, others supported the war and some of my classmates were heading directly off to boot camp after graduation.

We all agreed the war had to end and we couldn’t let another war happen. Watergate began the fall of my senior year and President Richard Nixon would resign the summer after graduation. I knew armed with our ability now to vote, the leaders elected by my generation would be honest and above the scrutiny. No president we elected would ever face impeachment. Our generation would set about ending the 1973-74 recession, and that 11 percent inflation and 9 percent unemployment would never happen again.

Some kids I knew graduating were heading north to work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System that would help carry enough oil to produce ample gas so that dependence on foreign oil, high gas prices and shortages would be a thing of the past.

Funny how fast 40 years can fly by and how much more difficult and complex the world’s problems are today. My father told me once that there was no such thing as the good old days in his mind, because things were so much better as an adult than when he was a kid.

Dad said it was every generation’s responsibility to leave the world better than they found it for the next generation. I don’t know if the world is a better place today than it was 40 years ago, but I do know Dad was a whole lot smarter than I gave him credit back then.

Brock is the publisher of The Dickinson Press. Email him at