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Proud of the '60s

March 27, 1988

Regarding "Hanging on to the '60s" by Beth Ann Krier, March 20: How soon we forget, or choose to ignore. The '60s, was more than "Mr. Ed," the Beatles, lava lamps and love beads. It was also a time when millions of Americans took to the streets in protest of serious issues from civil rights to Vietnam.

For many it was a great time to be alive. The revolt in the streets was a chance for people to replace materialism with idealism. I know this is what moved me. I felt great pride and exhilaration in taking part in marches and demonstrations demanding an end to poverty and racism at home and an end to the senseless killing abroad. Students, blacks, Chicanos, women and countless others put their bodies on the line for their beliefs. Many were killed, injured and jailed. Like me, they were sure that the cause of peace and social justice was worth the fight.

We didn't take these things lightly. They were not passing fads. And as history has shown, we were right. America today is a better place because of the sacrifices people were willing to make, and the struggles they weren't afraid to undertake.

Only someone who took an active part in those battles would understand the continuing importance of that rich legacy of social meaning that the '60s left. They would not ask as your writer asked, "Why are people enamored of the '60s?" Nor would they dismiss it casually as a period of "excesses."

They would also, I suspect, shed a tear with me over the '80s and the commercial perversion of the values and symbols of the '60s. The peace sign was not about selling flowers, MTV rock performances or miniskirts. It was just the opposite. And only when the current generation realizes that the noble activists of the '60s were trying to build a better world, and not collect better BMWs, then they too might revive the spirit of those times, and find deeper meaning in their lives.

EARL HUTCHINSON

Inglewood

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