Defending Woodstock: We Were Naïve, But it Was Fun

It may have been neither evolutionary nor revolutionary, but it was fun.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I'd like to respond to a commenter responding to a USNews.com article on Woodstock's 40th anniversary. The commenter asked:

Why do we have to relive the 1960s every decade ["10 Places to Relive the '60s," usnews.com]? Baby boomers feel that the sun rose (and is now setting) on their generation. Other generations are not trying to "re-create" the 1960s. This article is another example of the over-inflated boomer ego. Music festivals are festivals. Woodstock was a huge example but not the first and obviously not the last. I would not be proud of a generation whose massive flower power numbers failed to bring peace, only years of war and huge debt.

I was at Woodstock—I promise. And I never cared much for the decennial media reminders of the festival—that is, until this one. I don't agree that over-inflated boomer ego is responsible for what seems to have become an obsessive observation of its anniversary. I do now believe that it was an iconic event for young Americans who came of age in the '60s and '70s, much as the Vietnam War, the anti-war protests and Earth Day for that matter.

I also believe we (I was 15 at Woodstock) were incredibly naïve and misguided in many of our judgments about human nature, peace, war, drugs, poverty and so on. But it sure was fun being a part of what seemed to be an evolutionary if not revolutionary event.

I don't agree with this quote from John Lennon either about the meaning of the '60s, but it sums up what everyone was thinking at the time:

The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.

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