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Spires: We’re not in Kansas anymore

Spires: We’re not in Kansas anymore

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how things have changed, sadly to say not for the better.

If the latest generation were to be plunged into the world in which we grew up, they would not know what to do.

It was easy to be a kid. When I grew up, we were actually expected to act like a child, not an adult. Granted, it was, for the most part, a much safer world back then.

Proof in point was a post by a friend on Facebook in which they were victims of a random drive-by shooting. Three shots were fired, two hit their car. Not sure where the third one went, by the way.

We never had drive-by shootings when I was growing up and we lived on a very busy street where many vehicles passed every day. Of course, I didn’t live in Chicago either.

Things were not perfect. We had riots and protests, especially over the Vietnam War. However, that was always, in many ways, detached from most of us, because it happened far away. By the way, I lost a cousin in Korea and Vietnam.

Now we are being directly affected by stuff that is going on nationally.

My biggest problem is the changing of history. That ultimately affects all of us in many ways.

I have relatives that fought in the American Revolution, and every major conflict since. I don’t want what they sacrificed to be forgotten.

Our American history is just that, “our” history. Good or bad, it is still our history. To change that or take it away does not make us a better country. As a matter of fact I believe it lessens the reason we are here today.

I grew up saturated in history, the history of my family, the history of my community and especially the history of our country. We cannot let that slip away from us; if we do, we may just repeat the bad things once they are forgotten.

So many people are telling me now that they have stopped watching the national news. It is very frustrating to say the least. I tend to agree with those thoughts, but at the same time so many things are happening that it is scary for our country’s future.

There was a time when we depended on three networks to keep us abreast of what was happening. Now we have dozens of channels with news, plus our phones and internet. Oh, and don’t forget Facebook.

The problem now is you don’t know who to believe. Or even better, who not to believe.

I long for the days when Walter Cronkite would say, “And that’s the way it is,” or Edward R. Murrow’s “Good night and good luck.”

To me, it is scary times, worse than those days when we learned to “duck and cover,” in anticipation of an atomic bomb being dropped on us—and that was scary. This time, however, it will not be a giant explosion. I’m afraid it may just slip up on us.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at


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