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The most ordinary and casual things can tell a story of the entire society and epochs. The time capsule created in the 1960s can also shed light on the way people lived, hoped, and behaved. The time capsule found contains such items as a stained shirt with a ripped sleeve, a vinyl record, a newspaper article (dated 1963), Moon landing pin and ribbon, a child’s drawing revealing a nuclear bomb explosion and such words as the USA, the USSR, Cuba, war.
The child’s drawing is the first item to be considered. The drawing displays the nuclear explosion, and there are such words as Cuba, the USA, the USSR, and war. It is clear that the drawing was made in 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis took place. The drawing suggests that the child feared that a war could start. Those were quite common fears for Americans in the 1960s as the Cold War was in its prime. The Missile Crisis was a 13-day negotiation between the USA and the USSR concerning the latter’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba as a reaction to the US activities in Turkey and Italy. The USA imposed a military blockade to prevent Soviet ships from delivering materials (including missiles) to the missiles launch facilities that had been under construction in Cuba. The event is significant as it reveals the strength of diplomacy since the Third World War was about to start. The two superpowers managed to agree on vital points and managed to restrain from a massive military conflict. The crisis also showed people that the risk of war was very high and it was essential to keep the Cold War in its cold state, as humanity could be destroyed because of political differences.
The stained shirt with a ripped sleeve has an inscription saying “I’m 14 and against segregation” and it has quite specific damages as if the person was attacked by a dog (or dogs). The analysis of the item shows that the shirt was worn during the so-called Children’s Crusade of 1963. This event was one of the awakening experiences of many Americans. In Birmingham, Alabama, Rev. James Bevel organized a march of children who studied in local schools (Tullos, 2011). Those were mainly teenagers and youth. They wanted to go to the mayor and reveal their protest concerning the segregation. However, the head of police Connor (nicknamed “Bull”) did not let the protestors reach their target place. He ordered to use water hoses and police dogs to make the protestors go home. Many children were arrested, and many got quite serious injuries.
This event can be regarded as one of the stimuli that encouraged people (irrespective of their race, ethnicity, age, gender) to become more active and stand against the US segregation. The leaders of the Civil Rights Movement often mentioned the courageous deed of children who were not afraid to fight and suffer for their beliefs and, more importantly, for a better society. Many people were inspired and outraged at the same time. The nation saw the ugly face of the old order (which was the face of Bull Connor for many). More and more people joined the movement that managed to change American society. Therefore, it is possible to note that the event was an important milestone in the history of the USA.
The Vinyl Record
The vinyl record contained one piece only, and it was the speech of one of the famous leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. This was the eminent speech “I Have a Dream” delivered in 1963. This piece is regarded as iconic, and it is known far beyond the USA. The speech could be regarded as an anthem of the Civil Rights Movement as it revealed the deepest hopes and desires of millions of Americans. Interestingly, King was advised not to say the words as he had mentioned his dream several times before (Younge, 2013). However, he repeated the words several times throughout the speech, and it became the mantra of millions.
It is necessary to note that the famous speech was an important milestone in the history of the Civil Rights Movement as it was recorded and millions of people could hear King as the speech was broadcast (unlike many of his speeches delivered before). The speech was very emotional, which made it a symbol of the entire movement. People could be reluctant to stand out against the norms and the society for some specific social benefits, but they could not remain intact as they simply had to fight for their dream. These words also define the epoch as Americans managed to fight for many dreams and make them come true.
The Newspaper Article
The newspaper article is concerned with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The article is a report including the details of the assassination as well as the investigation. It also contains a photo where the First Lady is trying to help her husband. The assassination was one of the most serious strikes for the nation. Piereson (2013) stresses that the event deployed American liberalism. In 1963, the President went to Dallas where the support among voters was quite low (Piereson, 2013). He was shot when he was in an open car smiling at his voters moving across a street. It is still believed that there was a conspiracy, which could never be revealed.
The surveys showed that approximately 60% of Americans supported Kennedy, so the chances that he would be chosen for the second term were very high. He was an inspirational leader who was loved, which was not very common (at least, at such levels). The assassination of Kennedy became a great milestone in history as the era of idealism and liberalism was over. The epoch of radicalism came into existence. Kennedy was often regarded as a martyr who fought for progress and social justice. Piereson (2013) notes that the assassination paved the way for radicalism. However, it is also possible to note that this was one of the examples of the rising radicalism in American society.
Moon Landing Pin and Ribbon
The moon landing pin and ribbon are also items in the capsule. They are associated with one of the most important events in the history of the USA and the entire humanity. The item celebrates American astronauts’ landing on the Moon. In 1969, Neil Armstrong made the historic footprint on the surface of the Earth’s satellite. This footprint was a great achievement of scientists, including American and Russian great minds, who had worked on the development of the necessary technologies for decades (LaFeber, Polenberg, & Woloch, 2015). Americans took pride in their nations’ achievement, technological progress as well as the bravery of their fellow citizens who were courageous enough to walk on a different planet for their country.
It is impossible to underestimate the significance of the event for the USA and the entire humanity. First, this landing achieved its major goal, which was associated with the US rivalry with the USSR (LaFeber et al., 2015). The USA also proved that its economic and political model was superior to the one used by the communist world. Of course, the landing on the moon as any other NASA project enriched the knowledge base of the American scientists as well as the global scientific world. The event had a great significance for the entire world as people understood that they were capable of the most outstanding and unbelievable things.
Conclusions and Lessons to Learn
In conclusion, it is possible to state that the period in question was the epoch of great changes that resulted in the development of the nation as it is now. That period is characterized by technological breakthroughs, social activism, political assassinations, the birth and sometimes death of great hopes and dreams. The major lesson to be learned is that people can and should fight and try to make their dreams come true as it will result in the creation of a better world. Americans learned their lesson and used the tools introduced in the 1960s for their fight.
LaFeber, W., Polenberg, R., & Woloch, N. (2015). The American century: A history of the United States since 1941. New York, NY: Routledge.
Piereson, J. (2013). Camelot and the cultural revolution: How the assassination of John Kennedy shattered American liberalism. New York, NY: Encounter Books.
Tullos, A. (2011). Alabama gateway: The political imaginary and the heart of Dixie. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
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Younge, G. (2013). The speech: The story behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream. Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.