Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I was recently talking with some friends, lounging in our living room, and discussing moments that define generations. At our initial glance, it seemed that our generation has been doomed to obscurity and insignificance. We can speak nothing of our parents' experiences with the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the birth of Rock and Roll... Or our grandparents' experiences with the Great Depression, the Second World War, the advent of telephone and television... But as we conversed -- and as I've reflected more in recent days -- I realize that my generation, too, has experienced a dramatic number of revolutions. If anything, I wonder if the pace of "revolution" may even be accelerating...

I remember the first time I ever used the internet (and it didn't happen until I got to college). As a child, I played with early versions of the personal home computer (like the Commodore 64). I have personal memory of rotary telephones. I can clearly recall the first time I'd ever seeing a microwave, cable television, a home video player (both the VCR and the DVD player). My earliest music collections were on vinyl records and cassette tapes... Our generation has experienced unparalleled advances in technology.

I remember participating in grade school drills for what to do in case of nuclear attack by the Soviets. I was in junior high school when the Berlin Wall was dismantled and the Cold War was concluded. Europe changed currencies between my travel from America. I can remember where I was and what I was doing when the American space shuttle Challenger exploded... When New York City's World Trade Center towers were destroyed by terrorists... When popular icons such as OJ Simpson, Princess Diana, and Michael Jackson smothered the world's media with stories of tragedy and depravity. I remember hearing the first rumblings of a world AIDS epidemic. I even participated in a march on Washington D.C. during my college years... Our generation has experienced its fair share of political and cultural volatility.

Upon closer consideration, it seems our generation is not so obscure or insignificant after all. Only time will tell which events from our collective experience fade into the background and which events define our society for the years to come. Someday, I'm sure we'll be telling our grandchildren stories about what it was like back at the turn of the millenium -- though we don't know exactly what... It's just interesting to experience some future nostalgia in the present.


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