Posted by Ted Bronson | Filed under Nostalgia
Reagan stood in Berlin, Germany on June tenth of 1987 and challenged Gorby to “tear down this wall.”
In August of that same year, back home the FCC was allowing capitalism and the First Amendment to finally work together by getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine.
In October, Jesse Jackson announced his plans to run for president, again. Days later, the country was riveted by the story of “Baby Jessica” and mobilized to establish a trust fund for her that was rumored to be worth over a million dollars.
Feb 88 brought further strengthening of the the First Amendment when the Supremes found for Flynt in Hustler Magazine, Inc. v Falwell. Any time the Supremes get something right about constitutional law you gotta be proud.
Evan Mecham was booted out of office, proving that the system could indeed work.
In August, the Cubbies finally played a night game at Wrigley.
In September, Space Shuttle flights resumed.
In November, the B-2 is rolled out to the public for the first time.
In 1989, history and pride combined in the Gulf of Sidra incident on January fourth. I was there, and my pilots did good.
In Feb, Ron Brown, a black man, became the head of the DNC and Barbara Harris became the first female bishop in the Episcopal Church.
In May, the world watched Chinese students stand up for American-style rights, even unveiling a strangely familiar statue. In June, the world watched as these liberty and freedom loving students showed that they knew what price needed to be paid to achieve what they craved.
In November, the Wall did indeed come down.
By the end of the year, the Iron Curtain was shredded.
1990 started with the arrest of Noriega in Panama, Marion Barry arrested in D.C., and Hazelwood on trial.
The Soviet Union collapsed, German Reunification was underway, and the Sandinistas were voted out in Feb.
With freedom breaking out all over the planet, I found myself again in the Mid-East by the end of this year, to help Kuwait kick a bully out of their sandbox.
From ’91 to ’94, I was at the Fleet HQ for the Atlantic Fleet, doing a job that only one other person in the Navy was doing, plus going through physical therapy for injuries sustained in the sandbox. Highlights include Desert Storm to free Kuwait, Albania and Georgia had free elections, the DOW closed over 3,000, this tech thingy called the internet was being built, Clarence Thomas got appointed to the Supremes, and David Duke is put to political rest; Ross Perot, a third party guy, got his name on the ballot for all fifty states, the mall of America was built, and U.S. troops were asked by the UN to help out in Somalia; the second START was signed, Janet Reno became Atty Gen for the US, two Iraqis tried to kill Bush 41, and China held a nuke test; the Kremlin Accords were signed, South Africa held its first fully multi-racial elections, Aristide wes restored to power due to US assistance, and Newt led the Republican Party to dominance in both the House and Senate.
1995 had Steve Fossett setting records, Belfast free of British troops, Scott O’Grady showing that even zoomies can be tough, and Bernard A. Harris. Jr., a black man, walking in space. Ebay was founded. The Million Man March was strangely not the scene of race riots or face warfare.
1996 had the summer Olympics in Atlanta, GA. Hazel and I took the day off so we could watch the Torch make its way through town.
1997 had a few firsts, like Madeleine Albright becoming the first female Sec of State, Tara Lipinski became the youngest ever womens figure skating world champion, and IBM’s Deep Blue beating Kasparov. Pathfinder landed on Mars, Old Ironsides celebrated 200 years, and the F-22 underwent flight testing.
1998 put John Glenn back into space, the Lunar Prospector into orbit around the moon, and data from space about liquid oceans on Europa and ice on the Moon. The iMac was unveiled. Google was founded.
1999 saw the best in us all. Many were worried about the Y2K bug, Lewinsky, and Columbine. But Americans rose to the challenges, put our lives back together as best we could, and carried on. Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France, the Liberty Bell 7 was raised from the ocean floor, and the United States kept it’s promise to turn over the Panama Canal Zone, proving that we were an honorable nation.
And surely in the past seven years, there are things in which you too are proud, yes? Things or people or accomplishments of your friends and neighbors?
One thing I will remember to to the day I die happened in 1987, but you won’t find it in wikipedia:
I was a young enlisted sailor in Virginia, when my duty day rolled around. The chief handed me a shovel and told me to grab another kid and follow him outside. We followed. He marched us around to the back of our barracks and opened the access door on the thirty foot dumpster. Beside that dumpster he placed a tape deck on the ground. When he pressed play it was a repeating loop of Lee Greenwood singing “
Proud to be an American.” (Edited to correct title: “God Bless the U.S.A.” is what it should be. Thanks Jeff from the comments.) Me and my buddy cleaned out a dumpster for our country, singing at the top of our lungs, and laughing our asses off. The chief gave us the rest of the day off and we never stood a watch again.
I’m not sure, but maybe there is a lesson there.
I think pride in the country doesn’t come from what the government or the military or even our heroes do; I think it comes from realizing that every day, in every thing we do, we are making our country into something new. If you don’t believe in where we came from, how can you expect to get to someplace worthwhile?