View a selection of comments in response to the "A Visual Journey" exhibition. Although new comments are no longer being posted, questions relating to this site may be sent to the webmaster.
Thanks for the photographs. I experienced the period from the other coast in a more political way. The photos of some of the people I knew then brought back many fine memories. -Martin
As the 39 year old father of a 9 year old boy, I recently learned that he disdained social science. Since then, I have been sharing more with him about what has happened in our history that got us to where we are today. This weekend, I will sit down with him, and we will visit your exhibit together. I will resurrect my albums, and we will study this period in our history, via the internet, video, and music.
My hope is that it will spark an interest in discovering what has happened before, and a desire to learn more about and the lessons learned from our past.
Your exhibit will help to reach my goal for my son. -Jim
I really appreciate the hard work that you put into this exhibit. However, I missed a lot of this. I was in Viet Nam when the 68 Tet started. I lived through things that most of the members of our generation can't even begin to imagine. I was 19 at the time and I was drafted like many of my (our) peers. Yet I can't imagine the horrors that my father and uncle lived through in the South Pacific for four years. They were imbittered by the experience as I was. We all thought it was our duty to serve, however, my dad and uncle had a much better reason than I.
As I look back over the years, I can see how our society has crumbled since the late sixties. We all wanted the responsibilities of adulthood at 19 but lacked the widom to to embrace them and grow. I am now 50 years old and getting more bitter by the day as everything I cherished as a youngster and teen has crumbled into dust, including our society and leadership. Everything that has been fought for has been lost. My perspective of the sixties and yours are very different but I thank you for your efforts in this work. -Cal
Thanks for documenting that the 60's were so much more than a 4 hour mini-series. As one of the generation that was never supposed to get old, I'm happy that time and wisdom have reaffirmed for me that the 60's will be remembered as a special time in history, and I'm proud to have been a part of it. I do find it very disappointing how many of us have lost our spirit of activism and of trying to fix what's wrong with the world. While I have obviously fallen into some of the traps of commercialism and "accumulationism" (that's a word I coined myself to describe mindlessly accumulating posessions), I still try to live simply but comfortably. And I devote most of my time to helping stray and abused animals (the last great civil rights frontier). I hope that within the next few years, as many of us retire from our "careers", people from my generation will rediscover the beliefs that we held so dear in our youth. -Sue
I was five years old in 1960. I remember the Kennedy speeches, the huge crowds that assembled for him and his early unfortunate demise. Martin Luther King Jr,'s influence is strong in my memory while Bobby Kennedy still rings in my ears. I started getting high in 1969......we constantly spoke of the improvements made in civil rights, the constant struggle to uphold rightoeusness in the face of government oppression, and how to better make our voice heard to the country while our own parents wanted us to keep quiet and go along with our government disregarding all they had spoken of previously such as standing up for our beliefs.
My daughters' college professors tell her the sixties movement was a failure. This is a lie. We influenced so much change in this country that it is easily forgotten. We did not achieve all our goals, this is not all we wanted, but this is better than we would have had to live with without our voice. -Gary, Lowell, MA
I'm a 23 yr old, born in 1975. I saw the movie "The 60's", and wanted to know more. In school, we always heard about all the things that went on back then, and at the time it didn't seem important. But after the movie, and looking into this web site-I have a new found respect for what these people stood up for and believed in. I believe they helped shape the world, I just wish we had enough strong people like that in this day and age. Peace just isn't an issue anymore, and I strongly believe it should be. I know that if I was born back then, I would have definitely been at all those rallies. Thank you for the pictures, they told the true story. -Melinda, NJ
I just wanted to tell you what a great experience I had reviewing your pages! I was born in 62 and even tho I was not old enough to experience the era as others had, I experienced it through my older sister. I grew up listening to all the music and emotions that surrounded that time. The music still lives within my heart and soul. I just wanted to tell you how lucky you were to have had experienced all there was to see and do during that time. I think you have done a wonderful job in bringing this era to others. Let peace and harmony remain with you and yours forever! -Jackie in N.C.
Great photographs. I have a 35mm camera and I look around at the world and can't find much to take pictures of...you've inspired me to look more closely at the social issues around me. Thank you for your inspiration! -Deborah in Dallas
I'm a 23 yr old, born in 1975. I saw the movie "The 60's", and wanted to know more. In school, we always heard about all the things that went on back then, and at the time it didn't seem important. But after the movie, and looking into this web site-I have a new found respect for what these people stood up for and believed in. I believe they helped shape the world, I just wish we had enough strong people like that in this day and age. Peace just isn't an issue anymore, and I strongly believe it should be. I know that if I was born back then, I would have definitely been at all those rallies. Thank you for the pictures, they told the true story. -Melinda Lopez, NJ
Thank you, Smithsonian, for providing us with this view of the 1960s. As with all periods of history, there exists differing views on what happened, and of course, what should have happened. Many people look down upon this period of history because of what the "followers" became, but I feel that we must accept the decade and be proud of how we have grown since then. I did not grow up in this era, but I would not be who I am without its far-reaching influence. -G.M.
I was deeply inspired by the photographs I witnessed. I never imagined how useful photographs are to telling our history. -S, age 9
It was a scary time growing up. Every night on the news was the Vietnam War and the number of casualties. All the Civil Rights fights in the cities. I was age 6 in 1960. We were so glad the draft ended in high school. I lost one cousin in Nam--not by death, but emotionally. -unsigned
I've seen comments of people saying what an ugly time. Coming from Spain where we suffered such a fascist dictatorship you should be proud of the especial time in history. -C.F.
I think that these pictures are cool and they bring back memories to my mom. I liked the one with the Beatles. -B.B.
I was an American (Los Angeles) teenager through this era too. But I was not "into" all of this! I grew up with everyone else but without drugs and free love and with family love and morals. I rebelled as every teenager did, but not at the exclusion of family, church and country. -N.C.
I graduated from high school in 1966 and joined the Navy in 1968. I have always considered myself an observer rather than a participant, but through this exhibit, I realize that we were all participants and had a hand in shaping the world we are now living in. Would this planet have been better today if we hadn't had the counterculture revolution? We'll never know. I do believe that the freedom of expression I enjoy today is intimately linked to the demands made by my fellow "Baby Boomers" and I thank them. -M.N.T. San Diego, CA