Yesterday I attended the Walk to End Alzheimer's kick-off lunch event at the Wild Horse Saloon. The Walk to End Alzheimer's is an annual event that takes place in over 600 communities across America and will take place locally in Centennial Park in early October. It is the major fund raiser for the Alzheimer's Association, which provides funding for research and advocates for a cure.
Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in American and as the baby boomer generation ages, more and more people can expect to be afflicted with it. My wife Louella sufferers from Alzheimer's and has been diagnosed for about seven years but probably has actually had the disease for close to ten years. While it is too late to help Louella, I have a passion for the fight to find a cure for this disease.
Yesterday's event was a real downer. Not because the disease itself is a downer, which it is of course, but because the theme of the event was hippydom. This is only the second year I have attended the kick-off event and last year the theme was cowboys. I assume every year they have different theme. I am sure the organizers of this event did not mean to offend, but they did. If I had known the kick-off was a hippy theme, I would have skipped it.
One of the sponsors for the event was radio station called Hippy Radio and a Hippy Radio DJ was the MC. Many of the organizers of the event were dressed in tie-dye and they wore hippy era clothes and love beads and flowers in their hair and some of the guys had on wigs. The speeches were all peppered with use of words like "groovy" and "right-on." Quite a few of the organizers of the event wore sunglasses that had a grill over the lens in the shape of a peace sign and a lot of the women had earrings which were large peace signs. Posters featuring peace signs and other 60's era themes were posted on the walls.
I never was a hippy. I know a lot of people born after the era was over think that everyone who was a teen or young adult in the sixties or seventies was a hippy. That is simply not so. A lot of people of that generation were married and traditional and were raising families and working and lot of them were honorable serving their country in Vietnam. I am of that era, and quite frankly I hated hippies. More than anything, I hated the peace sign.
I know that many think of the peace as just a "cool" emblem. To many it is just generally associated with the fun of getting stoned and creative music and 'going to San Francisco and wearing a flower in your hair.' Flower Power! Groovy! Peace! Far out! Cool!
Many people have no concept of the context of the Peace sign, and they see it is as nothing more than a fashion statement. To some, it has no more meaning than the 60's era smiley face. To some it is just a nostalgic relic of the past.
To me however, it is a symbol of those who won the Vietnam war on behalf of the Viet Cong. It represents those who gave aid and comfort and encouragement to our enemy. It is the banner that prolonged the war and caused more death and destruction. When I see the Peace sign I think of those who marched and chanted "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" and burned American flags and spit on returning vets. It is the symbol of those who hated America and allied with our enemies. It represents the very worst of my generation.
The Vietnam war was not won by the Communist in the jungles of Vietnam but was won by the "Peace" activist on the college campuses and the streets of America and the peace sign was the banner under which they marched. Those who marched under that banner can take credit for millions of deaths at the hands of the Communist, for many millions more who were enslaved and for prolonging the cold war for an extra thirty years. The Peace sign represents to me those in the Communist fifth column who stabbed us in the back.
If you want to offend me, the Nazi swastika, the Communist hammer and sickle, "KKK", and the Peace sign are all symbols that will do the trick. While we live in an era that is ruled by political correctness which means, among other things, never offending anyone, it seems the only people it is safe to offend are Christians, patriots, and conservatives. The peace sign was a divisive symbol at the time, and I am not over it.
I was deeply offended at the theme of the kick-off event and the use of the peace sign emblem to kick off the Alzheimer's event. I am sending this essay to the Alzheimer's Association. I am still going to participate in the fund raiser, because I care more about the battle to find a cure for this horrible disease more than I do the offense I felt at the cute glorification of hippydom and the peace sign.
I will not buy a product that uses the peace sign in its promotion, not will I shop at a store that uses it in its advertising. When I can do so without causing a scene, I will let those displaying the emblem, know that I am deeply offended.