Down the Lane: Reflecting on 1976

While pondering what I was going to write this week, I ran across something on Facebook that hit a nerve. It was a simple question: “What were you doing in 1976?” It was not so much the question but some of the answers that made me stop and think.

One gentleman said he was happy in 1976, living in a world which was not as ridiculous as it is now. He mentioned in 1976 who would have thought saying “Merry Christmas” to someone would have been something for someone to take offense. I had to agree. In 1976, I would have never thought such a thing would come to be.

He also said he would never have thought to say the Pledge of Allegiance would be something people took as offensive. Neither would I.

It made me think of how we started every day at Pilot View Elementary School. It began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. Often we had Bible reading — it was according to who your teacher was.

I will never forget in the third grade how Mrs. Charlie Morton put the Christmas story from Luke 2 all along the side of the room, and every day we practiced reading it. I learned it that year and can still recite nearly every word. I loved that she did that for us. She was always one of my favorite teachers.

The gentleman added if someone had said mentioning God’s name in school was terrible, we would have laughed our head off. Who could ever think to mention God in our school would be viewed as wrong? Many of us are still shaking our heads at the mere thought of this.

The Ten Commandments were placed at the doorway of the school. We saw it as we entered the school building and when we left. I thank God that is what I saw when I went to school.

In 1976, who would have thought our Civil War monuments would have been broken, torn down or removed from their places of honor. Who is to say a statue of Martin Luther King may not be offensive to some people one day, and people will want it removed? Monuments are put up for a reason: to honor someone. I do not believe they should be taken down or removed. When we read about these men in history, we thought of them as heroes for their causes. It was history and history should not be forgotten.

If a child were heard cursing, their backsides would have been busted, and they would have thought twice before a curse word came out of their mouth again. Lots of things that happen now were practically non-existent when we were in school. You were taught respect.

I still think good behavior has to be taught at home. It is usually evident when their parents teach manners.

I also remember how important we were taught our flag was. Every morning and afternoon two people would put the flag up or take it down. We were taught respect for the flag. What has happened?

I feel in every American school students need to be saying the Pledge of Allegiance. They need to know what the flag means, and maybe a veteran of one of the wars needs to come to speak to them to let them know for what it stands.

I will never forget hearing a World War II veteran say the highlight his life was seeing the American flag flying over Iwo Jima. Folks, that gave me shivers then and now, to think about what those men had been through and to see their flag lifted and flown.

We need not forget what the flag means to our country.

You know in 1976, a friend and I were making things out of red, white and blue to honor our country’s bicentennial celebration. It seemed like all of the U.S. was united in the celebration. We got dried flowers, painted them red, white and blue and made arrangements for a meeting. We were so proud to be Americans then.

I am proud to be one every day, but it makes me sad to think everyone does not realize how good we had it and how we need to make it that way again.

Since the Ten Commandments and mentioning God has been taken out of our schools, our country has become more evil, and we are paying for it with overcrowded jails and people who could care less about anything let alone respect for anyone or themselves.

I find myself agreeing with the words of the gentleman who wrote on Facebook, “Boy, It was good back then!”

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.