Skip to main content

In the 1950s nuclear war seemed imminent. Seattle is a city that was a prime target with lots of military contractors and very strategic military bases nearby. I don't remember doing any "Duck and Cover" drills at school. I think those were done before I reached school age. But the threat still loomed large.  When you were a kid in the 1950s the way all the adults were talking made a lot of kids think they'd never live to be 30 or 40. I know I thought that way as did a lot of others.

I just got off of the phone with a friend. I told her I was writing about how the fear of an imminent nuclear war traumatized the Baby Boom generation. She said she couldn't agree more. She told me how she thought doing duck and cover drills gave her PTSD. She said she was afraid to take showers because the sound of the water reminded her of the sound that jet planes make, and she was afraid she would die in the shower. To this day she can only take bathes.

I can remember going on a Cub Scout campout to Saltwater State Park on the shore of Puget Sound between Seattle and Tacoma. We were sleeping in out tents. Then in the middle of the night a nearby air raid siren started howling and woke us up. My Father told me not to worry and to go back to sleep. But the sieren kept on going and going. I thought it was our last hour on earth. I was terrified laying there in my tent. I'll never forget that night.

Experiences like these profoundly traumatized a generation of Americans. I believe that shared psychological trauma led directly to the generation of rebellious young Americans in 1960s and the rise of what was called the "Counter-Culture". They saw the societal paradigm of their parents as a dead end, and searched for better alternatives. Well I'm sure I don't have to go into all the facets of the societal changes that began to unfold in the 1960s. Questioning the status quo then led to a flowering of long overdue constructive changes in a multitude of ways we take for granted today.

I suspect the generation growing up now may be equally traumatized by the increasingly drastic effects of Global Warming. I hope they too will see the societal paradigm of their parents as a dead end, and rebel against it. Because only the members of a society on a destructive course have the power to make a course correction.  

Please share your experiences if the Cold War affected you and changed how you view the world.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Gratifying to see this (11+ / 0-)

    "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 11:43:04 AM PDT

    •  the difference is the frog in the boiling water. (7+ / 0-)

      Nuclear war is fast.

      Climate catastrophe is slow.

      New report in one of the science journals that humans could be extinct in a couple of centuries:  the predictable response is "who cares?" after all, we'll all be dead by then anyway!

      Duck and cover is about Now.

      Dying of starvation or dehydration is about Later.

      Somehow we have to make the connection in peoples' minds, that Later is Now for someone else, and someone else is ourselves but we don't know it yet.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 03:31:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went to a Catholic school and the nuns (11+ / 0-)

    herded us to the lower level, and I remember obediently sitting on the floor and putting my hands over my head. I want to say it was about 1960. It was probably the first time I felt real, free-floating anxiety about things that were far out of our control.  A few years later there was the Cuban Missile crisis, which also scared me shitless.  At home we watched that frightening Cold War movie "On the Beach" (my parents weren't real good about monitoring what we watched) which absolutely petrified me and my siblings.

       The horrible things that happened later in the decade--the assassinations, the riots--were easier to deal with, more so than the prospect of nuclear annihilation.

    the woman who is easily irritated

    by chicago minx on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:06:03 PM PDT

  •  My "duck and cover" memories are (8+ / 0-)

    from the 1960s - October of 1962 to be precise.  Houston is definitely within missile range of Cuba and during those few days we probably had more drills than we had classes.  In classrooms, in the halls, in the cafeteria, outside at recess... you name it - and in combination with fire drills, tornado drills, I think even a hurricane-related flood watch combination drill even though it wasn't really hurricane season and there wasn't one in the Gulf at the time.

    So hard to remember it was only 3 days - my childhood memory of it has it running as long as London's Blitz.  Possibly because the drills were run by people who'd lived vicariously via radio (Edward R. Murrow et al) through London's Blitz.

    •  I grew up 17 miles from Los Angeles (3+ / 0-)

      I started school in 1956.  I remember duck and cover.  I also remember that by the time I was 10, I understood how futile it was.

      “Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful -- just stupid.)” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

      by midgebaker on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 07:14:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm quite a bit younger (5+ / 0-)

    Started school in 1970...so we did not do any bomb drills.  But I do remember the tensions surrounding the downing of KAL 007 in 1983, and though I would not see my 18th birthday at the end of October that year.

  •  I remember duck and cover in the Los Angeles area (10+ / 0-)

    well into the sixties. In our case, it was a dual exercise - to be done in case of either earthquake or nuclear attack. No doubt the earthquake threat prolonged the practice.

    I remember thinking, even at that age, that hiding under a desk wasn't going to help much if atomic bombs were being dropped on us.

    During the Cuban Missile Crisis, my father dropped everything and took us to Mexico. He really thought nuclear war was coming. I'm proud of him for making our safety his top priority. I find it very surprising that so few others had as much sense. Particularly now that we know how very, very close we came.

    •  We used to curl up under our desks with our hands (10+ / 0-)

      over our heads, but the kids in the row next to the windows shared the protective desks covering the children in the next row over. After the Cuban missile crisis we had drills where they set off the sirens just after we got out of school.  We were supposed to run home as fast as we could.  I remember crying all the way home. I could not understand why the grownups didn't just admit that all of us would die if it they really sent out the missiles.

      I used to cry with my pillow over my head so nobody would hear me.  My fear really upset my parents. It was bad enough that I would die and never get to grow up, but I adored my baby brother.  I could not understand why the Russians hated a tiny little baby so much they wanted to burn him up to ash. Years later I worked with a woman from the former Soviet Union.  As a little girl she could not understand why Americans hated her so much we wanted to incinerate her whole family.

  •  In the 80s (8+ / 0-)

    the fear was still there — though clearly nowhere near what it must have been like in earlier atomic age decades — but we had Ronald Reagan, a series of Soviet leaders, and to really hammer it home, movies like Testament and The Day After. (My parents wouldn't let me watch the latter when it aired.) The sound of air raid sirens, of which I'd heard examples on TV, terrified me.

    We were well aware of nuclear war and the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; it was taught and discussed in school. The Peace Club at my middle school made thousands of origami paper cranes to give to our Member of Parliament; he displayed the big bag in the House of Commons the next day. Of course paper cranes would not bring about détente, but we (they, actually, I didn't fold any cranes) felt like we were making a difference. At the same time, it also showed that we had the fear as well.

    I thought about this just the other day and realized that we kids of the 70s (tweens and teens of the 80s) were probably the last cohort to grow up fearful of imminent nuclear holocaust. Kids of the 80s probably only remember the Berlin Wall coming down, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the (purported) end of the Cold War, and not necessarily understanding how all of this caused us and older generations such fear and, in earlier decades, paranoia.

    (Just one of the myriad reasons I hated the 80s. Another is shaker knit sweaters.)

    What do we want? Evidence-based change! When do we want it? After peer review!

    by puckmtl on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:35:30 PM PDT

  •  How ironic that anyone could think being under (7+ / 0-)

    a desk at school would protect from nuclear attack - and the long term fallout danger was more important for most people anyway.  I remember backyard shelters being constructed in the sixties, and had regular nightmares throughout the fifties and sixties about WWIII.  One that particularly stands out had France (!) precipitating the war by attacking the Soviet Union.  

    O Jungens, ich will doch gar kein Mensch sein (Jimmy Mahoney in Mahagonny by Brecht/Weill)

    by richardvjohnson on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:37:46 PM PDT

    •  So true: (4+ / 0-)
      How ironic that anyone could think being under
      a desk at school would protect from nuclear attack - and the long term fallout danger was more important for most people anyway
      It was not until I was a teen that I confronted my dad about this & what we should really do.

      His answer:  "Bend over & kiss your ass goodbye".

      He was a SAC pilot at the time.

      He later bought me a poster with numbered things to do in the event of a nuke.  I do not recall now anything but the last number- which was exactly what he'd told me when I'd asked.

      I never forgot.

  •  Believe it or not, they still have (8+ / 0-)

    those "duck and cover" drills in grade schools, but in California, they're for earthquake preparedness!!

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:38:57 PM PDT

  •  In Europe, nuclear war awareness rose in the 1980s (6+ / 0-)

    Perhaps, what with the deployment of Pershing II missiles and all, people were afraid that the hawkish Reagan and Thatcher were going to lead the world to the brink.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:43:57 PM PDT

  •  The first real memory I have of the Cold War (7+ / 0-)

    was the Cuban Missile Crisis. My folks were quite upset and thought Kennedy was playing a dangerous game of brinksmanship with Khrushchev. I was surprised that they were dissing the prez, because they were big fans of him generally. (They were always pro-peace, and came out against the Vietnam from its start.) It was a tension-filled week knowing that a catastrophic war could start at any minute.

    I can't say that the Cold War stressed me too badly, since we lived 50 miles from any city of significant size. Nuclear war was an abstraction then, but now that I live in proximity to many of the Boeing plants, I sure get your childhood fears.

    My concerns were directed more to the conflict in Vietnam: thoughts of being drafted, and having to make the choice whether or not to flee to Canada, my parent's choice for me. (But finding a cure for acne would be right up there too.)

  •  We did duck and cover in the 1970s (7+ / 0-)

    I quite clearly recall many nights when I didn't want to go to sleep as a child because I was sure that a nuke would hit overnight.

    I seriously gave us only a 50-50 chance of leaving the Reagan years without a nuclear detonation in an American city.

    So, in that respect, Reagan exceeded my expectations for his presidency.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:47:16 PM PDT

  •  Cold war memories (5+ / 0-)

    I recall air raid drills.  It was, I guess, 1966.  First grade.  All the lights in the long hall of our single story brick school with cinderblock construction were out.  All the classes were in the hall and we were to squeeze tight together and face the wall.

    One kid, I recall well, started to cry.  I wanted to cry before and when he started it was worse but the F*** if I wasn't gonna be a man, like the times and my progressive Dem, but of his time dad taught me.

    A long time facing the wall.  In the months to come requests for explanations of why we did air raid drills were not answered.  The need for fire drills, orderly evacuation of the building in lines so teachers could account for all the kids was clear even to a first grader.  Air raid drills were unfathomable.

    Mid 80's.  Living in the DC suburbs going to college.  Every time the emergency alert noise sounded I felt sick and often got goose bumps.

    I was a political science student who was very interested in IR and war fighting.  

    I was scared.

    College days - a lovely spring day driving a woman I so  wanted in the delicious hormone fueled lust that has drifted away along with the pages of many calendars.  

    A BAC >.01 but well legal.  Possession and consumption of illegal substances.

    The radio is blaring in the background as we drive along Rt.1 in Beltsville heading back to campus.

    An announcement on the radio; some Mid East state did something to us.  I was near tears very upset.  

    My wish she was my girlfriend was similarly altered and as a smart, but disinterested recreation student she asked why I was so upset.

    I explained how we had to react to what was done to us and in the haze of the substances we ingested, I felt a kinship to the kids in the military of the state that insulted us, knowing that a number of them would die soon upon the orders of men less then 15 miles from Beltsville.

    I know it's D Day today and there are wars and then there are wars.  I am seeing more truth in this song as I get older, but at the risk of sounding like a tea partier - we gotta remember freedom isn't free.

    Thank you to all the men and women who bought my freedom with their sacrifices and sometimes their lives.

  •  The Day After (7+ / 0-)

    Holy shit.

    I still recall public alarm systems, and listening for a three minute long siren blast. I remember wearing sneakers to bed at night, in case I had to run away from Soviet bombs.

    That carried over to everything: drunk driving, seat belts, pills, drug use, AIDS, etc. To me, at least, growing up in the 80s felt like 9/12.

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 12:53:24 PM PDT

    •  Oh yes Holy Shit! (5+ / 0-)

      "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

      by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:34:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Threads as well (5+ / 0-)

        It was produced by the BBC and makes the Day After look like Disney. Ted Turner actually paid money out of his own pocket to show it on TBS.

      •  That Missile Launch Was the Most Chilling (5+ / 0-)

        Watching the missiles launch out of their silos was the most chilling part of "The Day After" for me.  Presuming that the missiles had been launched upon confirmation of the incoming Soviet strike, one would know that the first warheads would be arriving in about 20 minutes.  That knowledge would be firm and final - no maybe, no this might be a drill, no not till next time.  Once the you could see the contrails, you knew that in about 20 minutes everything was going to change very much for the worse.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 09:09:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So many people never knew about the Nikes (4+ / 0-)

          There were missile emplacements all around the US in suburban neighborhoods that people never knew were there.

          There is a "historic marker" sign I see along Fairfax Parkway in the DC region that memorializes one...it would have been out in the woods and fields back then. Just sitting and waiting. Sitting and waiting.

          That movie hit me, but the classic has to be Dr. Strangelove.
          Still can't hear the Vera Lynn song "We'll Meet Again" without wanting to duck and cover.

          •  Recently Spoke With My Mother (0+ / 0-)

            A few years back I happened to see an article in the Hartford Courant speaking about the Defense Departments disposing of a Nike site located not far from Hartford and along a road I take regularly in the Farmington River valley.  It got me thinking and I looked to see if any records existed about the Nike missile site locations.  That was a real eye opener.

            For one thing, the wonder of the internet means sites detailing anything you wanted to know about a Nike missile site could be easily offered.  The wonders of Wikipedia meant that anyone could learn about all of the Nike sites located in the US if one bothered to look.  A brief examination of the sites detailed corresponded with the Hartford Courant article and a site once located near my spouse's old family location on the Long Island south shore.  What shocked me was the three Nike sites located within only few sites of my old family location in NE Baltimore County.  I'm pretty sure the info is accurate too because I remember signs warning off civilians from when I was a child.  They didn't say what was on the location, just that the passerby should just keep moving.  The Google Maps satellite views also confirm that the sites could have existed there.

            I asked my mother if she knew the Nike sites were there and she said no.  Apparently the civilians in the area were never really fully informed about them.  That would have included the info that the sites stored nuclear warheads.  The Cold War really was the quintessential era of "need to know."

            "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

            by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 07:34:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I went to school in the 60s and we did (0+ / 0-)

        duck and cover. Didn't impact me at all.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 02:33:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I did it in second grade (4+ / 0-)

    This would have been 1957-1958. These drills were more interesting than usual because my school was about 23 miles from the Naval Weapons Lab in Dahlgren, VA. There were days when the testing of big guns there would rattle the windows of this school.

  •  A propaganda film. Simple as that. And a (4+ / 0-)

    reminder of why we cannot let them instigate, manufacture, and carry out another Cold War.  
    People should be protesting this war right now.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:13:07 PM PDT

  •  I remember them well.... (8+ / 0-)

    I was born at the end of WWII, after Japan had surrendered.  So I am the absolute beginning first year of the boomers.  
    Duck and Cover happened all through elementary school and the Cuban Missile crisis when I was in high school.
    Saturdays at noon, the air aid siren went off so families could practice going to the basement.  Canned goods were to be stored.
    I would panic because my parents did not take it seriously.  No one would go in the basement when the siren went off.

    As I aged and began to read more and more I understood it was a bit of a farce as no one's basement was going to shelter us from a close hit or radiation.

    As I entered adolescence, the show "The Twilight Zone" came on, and MAD Magazine came out.  My pov changed considerable.  I still remember clearly the show about "bomb shelters".   Of course MAD magazine and MAD (mutually assured destruction) entered my psyche.   By the time I was in hs, I knew what it meant to "assume the position" as in "put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye".   I began protesting in college against Vietnam and I suppose all of that affected my world view.

    Loved the flck "The Atomic Cafe" as it mocked the whole mentality of the times; ditto "Doctor Strangelove".  

    Now I am a senior citizen, and instead of being a conservative FOX viewer like the polls insist I should be, I continue growing more liberal as I age.  Go figure.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:14:44 PM PDT

    •  My experience too (6+ / 0-)

      My parents never took any of it seriously. We lived in the upper midwest - about as far as you could be from Germany and Japan simultaneously - and had had blackout curtains during WWII, which I think was probably their version of "duct tape and plastic".

      I'd forgotten what a huge effect both Twilight Zone and MAD magazine had on me too. Maybe that's where I learned that it's infinitely better to laugh at misfortune than to adopt a mentality of fear or victimhood.

      That's served me well over the years, and I have lots to laugh about now.

      No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

      by badger on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:32:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was born in '49 (10+ / 0-)

    A cold war kid in McCarthy time
    Stop 'em at the 38th parallel
    Blast those yellow reds to hell!

    Cold war kids were hard to kill
    Under their desks in an air raid drill
    Haven't they heard we won the war?
    What do they keep on fighting for?

    Per Billy Joel, but works for me too.

    We did our air raid drills in an interior hallway of the school - squat, face the wall, interlace your fingers behind your head and close your eyes.

    The school was just across the street from my house, and about 3 blocks farther west was a Nike base. Those were anti-aircraft missile batteries that ringed major cities. I didn't find out until many years later that the base down the road had nuclear tipped missiles.  Think of the logic of that - blowing up an enemy bomber carrying nuclear weapons with a nuclear tipped missile right over a densely populated city.

    And of course once a year, we brought home a Civil Defense pamphlet about how to build your own bomb shelter in your basement or backyard, and buildings with yellow Civil Defense signs on them had barrels of water and stale cracker in their basements. The capacity (in people) was on the sign.

    By the time I was in high school (graduated in '67), I had some dumb friends who got busted stealing radio equipment out of a different abandoned Nike site. The site near us had started out as the county farm ("House of Correction"), housed German POWs in WWII, became the Army "Disciplinary Barracks" (housing court-martialed  soldiers) as well as the Nike base. The south end is still an Army Reserve base, but the north end with the underground missle bunkers and barracks is now a huge nature preserve in the middle of the city (that spread far past it over the years). Better than guns to plowshares, IMO.

    I'm sure some of the nuclear stuff scared me when I was a kid, but by the time of Failsafe and Dr. Strangelove and Alas, Babylon, it was just an interesting and often funny subject to weave stories about. Any psychological effect it might have had disappeared when I lost the "America, Fuck Yeah!" attitude well before the 1964 election.

    I'm sure it's still a danger. So is driving my car. Shit happens that you can't control, and I don't worry about that kind of thing too much.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:23:08 PM PDT

  •  Nice diary! Two interesting web sites. (9+ / 0-)

    Civil Defense Museum

    And Conelrad

    Also known as 'All Things Atomic  The Golden Age of Homeland Security'

    Conelrad has fun and interesting music, pamphlets, videos and much more.

    Interesting that this was brought up, because this week I recorded 'Panic In The Year Zero' to watch again.  Very scary cold war movie staring and directed by Ray Milland.

  •  Oh, my, I can't tell you how much (8+ / 0-)

    duck and cover and The Bomb affected my young life. I was obsessed with The Bomb. I read Hiroshima and Nagasaki early on, because libraries, so those images of extreme destruction seared my brain. I'd wake up so many mornings in a cold sweat, fearing the morning fireball and blast as described in the lurid pulp paperback, The Day They H-Bombed Los Angeles (which I read because it was laying around and I read everything not school related and Bomb related).
    The noon siren that was still blasted at lunch during the late fifties, sent me into paroxysms of paranoia that that particular noon it would be the civil defense siren warning of the fireball and blast and our skeletons would be X-rayed onto the walls! I often wanted to jump into the street and hug the curb, waiting for the blast.
    We were chronically aware of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was a bit older but no less petrified of the fireball and the blast. The melting, the French frying.
    I agree about this producing PTSD. It took years to get over the daily fear of instant incineration. I had an awesome imagination.
    All in all, having The Bomb as part of my life lent a dark side to it. Brooding, I read and read mystic titles and comp religion until understanding dawned that it no longer mattered to me how or when I physically died.
    There are parts of me that are still affected by The Bomb, namely, the fact that we were put through such futile exercises that would haunt our little minds for years to come. Even in sixth grade in 1960, I looked at the tall public school windows in my NYC school, PS 22, the Abraham Lincoln School, and said to myself, that assload of glass is gonna come down on me as I fry. What we were doing was NOT going to protect us at all. That's right, J'accuse! When you grow up, the question becomes, Who did they think they were kidding with these shitty instructions?"
    Well, I'm over it now, I think. LOL.

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 01:48:47 PM PDT

  •  I was born in 1948. I dimly remember (4+ / 0-)

    civil defense drills in elementary school in Massachusetts in the late 50s and in Indiana in the early 60s, though I associate the latter primarily with tornadoes. The memories are dim simply because the drills never made much of an impression on me.  I was never much worried about an imminent nuclear war: it was an abstract possibility that didn’t really seem very likely, and if it happened, I probably wasn’t going to be around to worry about it.  The only possible exception would have been the Cuban missile crisis, and I literally don’t remember it.  That is, I know when it occurred, and I have a few memories from that fall, but I have no memories specifically associated with it.

  •  We had them my entire childhood in San (7+ / 0-)

    Diego, but at a fairly young age most of us kids realized that we were a primary target. That meant that San Diego would just be a pile of radioactive glass a few feet thick with no survivors.

    For a lot of us, that eventually resolved the existential dilemma. Instead of making some sorry ass leap to faith we chose to try to put an end to the craziness, which meant working for peace, disarmament, equality for all (inequality being a major driver of strife) and breaking the cultural paradigms from which the hate, discrimination and madness flowed. It gave us something to do, as it were.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 03:34:32 PM PDT

  •  those of us who were active in the Nuclear Freeze (3+ / 0-)

    movement in the 80's thought that if ANYONE would push the nuclear button, it would be that doddering old fool Reagan.

    Remember "I just signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union--we begin bombing in five minutes" . . . ?

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 04:40:38 PM PDT

  •  Some pertinent cultural videos for this diary (3+ / 0-)

    The Atomic Cafe

    What those Buckeye boys and girls have in mind for the Wolverine-Human hybrids:

  •  ah, chili (0+ / 0-)

    I acquired a couple of chili recipes in unusual ways.
    One was someone's shopping list, left in a supermarket. The other was in a bundle of paers at work; it was typed on the back of someone's mimeographed Christmas letter, and there was a photocopy (wet-process) along with it - clearly someone had shuffled the stack of papers on their desk incorrectly. (Both recipes were for fairly basic chili.)

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 08:02:36 PM PDT

  •  Since I grew up in a military environment it (3+ / 0-)

    all seemed "normal".  Duck & cover, basement type bomb shelters & air raid sirens (drills)

    I do remember marveling at the difference & size of my best friend's bomb shelter compared to ours.  Apparently generals got bigger bomb shelters where we were stationed.  I admit to hoping my dad made general just so we could have one like my friend's.  To play in (sigh)

    It was during this time (Cuban Missile Crisis) that I first experienced fear based on sounds common to me.   And it had nothing to do with nukes, Cold War, Cuba.

    My dad & crew (Strategic Air Command) had "scrambles"- a lot.  Day or night.  Most times, when this happened at night after I was asleep, he would buzz our house on the way out.

    I was still in elementary school & had just seen my first movie about aliens-Mars-invasion at the base theater.  

    That night when he buzzed our house I woke up paralyzed with fear thinking "They've landed".  I seriously could not move from fear.  Then I decided there was nothing I could do about it, said out loud that the Martians would just have to eat me & went back to sleep.

    I was very sheepish about this the next day.

    Not sure how my parents did it but they managed to keep my brother & me innocent & without fear to the point that we never realized the dangers my dad or the country faced during this time.

    It wasn't until I became a more aware antiwar teen that I started angrily "questioning" everything.  I received his honest answers albeit without the appreciation due him until later in life.

    I just remembered that for some reason the one time I felt fear & unease was as a young adult in Europe.  The first few times I heard the sounds of the vehicle sirens used at the time instantly filled me with this dread & weird fear.  Very strange reaction that puzzled me.

    I think that because of the different circumstances surrounding my birth, upbringing & environs, there was this synergy of sorts that formed the me that is me regarding war-nuke threat (and a host of other things).

    Fatalistic in some ways yet determined to be a part of the solution.  If that makes any sense, heh.

    Oh and not once do I recall ever seeing or hearing about the use of duct tape until 9/11.  (We had manuals on what to do which I can still clearly picture in minds eye)

    Heh, and decades later I am still afraid of aliens. (Thanks Hollywood)

  •  Signs Designating Evacuation Highways (3+ / 0-)

    Having been born in the last 1940s, I remember well the weekly air-raid siren tests and the "duck'n'cover" drills.  I also remember seeing along the side of the highway near my home northeast of Baltimore announcing that it was a national evacuation highway to be used in case of enemy attack.  This was before days of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System, so any prospect of using the national highways as evacuation routes for major urban centers was ludicrous.  In our case, it was even more insane since any strike on Washington or Baltimore woud have seen fallout streaming in the direction of the evacuees.  Fortunately, the nuclear tipped SAMs weren't deployed until the 1960s, but those still carried warheads with a bigger bang than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 09:26:26 PM PDT

  •  I sure remember: butts in the air (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, allie4fairness

    Air-raid drills at school were a feature of my childhood! We'd hear the siren and we'd go out into the hallway, line up along the wall, be told to kneel down, put our heads down and cover our heads with our arms. Our butts would be up in the air. We'd stay that way until the next siren went off for the all-clear. The air-raid siren was steady, the fire siren warbled. (Or vice-versa?)

    And the Civil Defense alerts on the radio and TV, that sound, the tone, you never knew if it was going to be the real thing not a drill!

    Jeez, I was scared absolutely sh*tless during the Cuban missile crisis, we lived near DC and just waited for the sirens. The tension in the air was incredible, everyone was terrified and no one could talk about it. My dad was a high-level gvt. employee and had a ticket to one of the underground government shelters. He did. We did not. Bye dad. We lived near Andrews AFB and knew if the bombs came we'd be toast.

    My grandfather converted a corner of his basement to a bomb shelter. It had a cot, a shower and a toilet, he used the shower when he came home from his dirty work at the mill so it was not a total loss. Canned beans and canned milk on shelves on the wall.

    But the worst was actually later, seeing the flames as 14th Street burned, from the roof of my dorm, during college in 1968 when MLK was killed. That was doomsday arriving.

    How it all affected me? Not good. Not good.

  •  Growing up in Pittsburgh - steel was a target. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, allie4fairness

    The Pittsburgh area - and especially the Monongahela Vally - produced the bulk of America's steel.  We were something like 3rd or 4th on the list of strategic targets after DC and NYC.

    Pittsburgh is also the HQ of Alcoa - the nations largest aluminum producer.

    Oh yes.  We were an important target.

    I sat through quite a few screenings of "Duck and Cover" and got to enjoy 3 versions of it.  Always in black and white.

    By the time I was old enough to have formed political views on things like war and international relations and could grasp the concept of what all that violence would mean to my world, I was dead set against it.  As Johnson escalated the war in Viet Nam (Vietnam now?), I was against it.

    The Kent State Massacre had me in tears.  My father's feelings about that event enraged me.  My mother got me to turn that rage into something constructive - activism.

    Nothing moves me like seeing tens of thousands of people in one place to support one good idea or in support of a movement holding several good ideas aimed at a goal.  Nothing gets under my skin more than war and injustice.

    So now I vote a particular way.  I advocate for particular things.  I take a particular side in political discussions.  I support those who hold my views and I'm not shy about it.

    Silence in the face of war and injustice is morally repugnant to me.

    Yes, the Cold War with its Duck and Cover mentality did something to me which the government NEVER expected to happen.  And they've been enjoying me being a thorn in their collective ass ever since.

    In 20 years, I'll be the old man at the protest of the next war who will be wearing the button that says "Fuck Your War" and there won't be shit they can do about me.

    Celtic Merlin
    Carlinist

    Struggle with dignity against injustice. IS there anything more honorable that a person can do?

    by Celtic Merlin on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 12:29:04 AM PDT

  •  I grew up in a suburb of Washington DC (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, allie4fairness

    that was near Andrews AFB. Hearing the jets from Andrews fly over at night brought me many sleepless nights as a child - laying awake in the dark, clutching the sheets and waiting for the bomb blast that was going to incinerate us all.

    "I don't love writing, but I love having written" ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 12:34:10 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site