Today I bring you a little bit of history. 48 years ago, on August 15th, 1969, late on a Friday afternoon, folk musician Richie Havens took the stage as the opening act for the now infamous Woodstock Music & Art Fair. He was not scheduled to be the opening act. The opening act was supposed to be a band called Sweetwater but they were stuck in traffic trying to get to the festival site, a farm in upstate New York owned by a man named Max Yasgur. The logistics of the festival were in total disarray as many more people showed up than were expected. By the end of the weekend it was estimated that 500,000 people were there at one point or another. Richie Havens was asked to begin the festival because he and his fellow musicians needed nothing but some microphones to pick up their guitars, conga drum, and voices. Woodstock was the peak of the so-called hippie dream that began a few years earlier with the “Summer of Love”. By the end of 1969 it was all falling apart in large part because of the Charles Manson murders and the killing of a young man at a free Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway. Many idealists and dreamers wondered where it all went wrong. After all, this was the “Love Generation”. I think most generations start off with high ideals and big dreams. Although I did not make it to Woodstock I was one of those hippies. If the truth be told I am still one of those hippies. We are not dead yet and I am not alone. I still have high ideals and dreams. Unfortunately, my generation is running out of time. I am disheartened by what I see on the nightly news. There is so much hate in the world and none of us are immune to feeling it. Anyone can hate. It takes everything in me not to hate our current president. What turns people into racists, Neo-Nazi’s, and white nationalists while filling them with such hatred for anyone who is not the same as them? I sometimes feel like I am too old and too tired to change the world but I also feel like I cannot just stand by and just observe it. What can an average person do? You can practice love, tolerance, and acceptance in the ordinary events of your daily life. Change begins with individuals. Look into your own heart first. Do you believe in love? Show it. Do you believe in peace? Then live in peace. Do you believe we are all human beings that want nothing more than to raise our families, be happy, and live our lives? People are not born bad. Things like racism and intolerance are learned behaviors. Check yourself and make sure you are not a teacher of these things. Think about what you say and do. You don’t have to be a hippie to want peace and love in your life or in the lives of others.
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