Joan Dorsey
Contributing columnist
There were protesters in Gardner this week. Young people with a strong conviction on an issue that had not been in question for a long long time.
Fifty years ago a group of bright eyed, free spirited young people graduated from Gardner High School. The class of 1972. We had unified with Edgerton and Antioch a few years before, but had not officially become GEHS. Poor Antioch, it was totally left out. Note check with former school board members about that.
We were a graduating class with a war in South East Asia looming in their existence. Young men we knew and loved were being called to go and fight. Many didn’t return. It was not a popular war. There were protests around the country, Protests on college campuses. Young people were unhappy. We didn’t like the “establishment”.
Two years earlier 4 students had been shot in Ohio on the Kent State campus. These students were killed by our own National Guard soldiers. College was supposed to be a safe place to learn about questioning our values and the world. Our class reenacted the Kent
State Massacre. Mr. Keeney had the film and passed it onto a member of
our class. We were young and tried to grasp all the meanings of this world in turmoil.
We were idealistic, not so different from the protesters of today. We didn’t trust people over 30. We could change this world. But alas, life and time and just making a living happen. Families come along.
Protest less, go with the flow more.
It isn’t that we approved of the establishment any more, or gave up our ideals. Life just happened. It seemed the way to get change was to vote. The best way was to get a person who supported your beliefs to run for office. Then vote.
The class of 1972 still has very strong opinions. They have beliefs. I hope when we get together this next weekend, we leave our egos andpolitics at the door. We give each other long awaited hugs. We recognize the fact we have survived the last 50 years the best way we could. We have lost many classmates. They will be remembered. We will tell stories and smile and laugh.
To the young protesters of today. Hold your heads high. Remember your beliefs. Treat everyone with respect and courtesy. No amount of arguing will change a set mind. Protest with conviction, not with violence.
Class of 72 as they would have said “keep on truckin”!.
I won’t be writing a new weekly column. You may see a “vintage” column from time to time.