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NOTE
: THE DEFINING GENERATION is a project begun by Doug and Pam Sterner in 2002 and completed in 2006. Initially is was prepared for publication as a book, however with their changing focus to development of a database of military awards, was postponed indefinitely so they could concentrate on that larger, more important work. The stories found herein however, need to be shared, and they have consented to make this compilation available in this format. While each story can stand alone, it is recommended that for continuity, readers will be best served by reading the chapters sequentially from first to last.

 

The Defining Generation

-

Out With the Old

Out With the Old

One of the most historic events in the Post-World War II years, and one that set the course for the Defining Generation, was the televised debate on the evening of September 26, 1960. Though political debates were broadcast on radio in 1948 and on television in 1956, this was to be the first television broadcast of a debate between the Democrat and Republican presidential nominees. Prior to 1960 a televised debate would have only limited impact; in 1950 only one in ten American families owned a television set. Ten years later the trend had reversed and only one in ten American families DID NOT own a television set. For this reason, the historic moment was witnessed by a large segment of American society, estimated at 80 million viewers.

By 1960 most baby boomers were entering their teens but were still too young to vote. Ironically therefore, it was our parents who set the pace for the decade that would eventually usher in a broader rejection of the traditional, and generate a desire for something new and different. Much of this came as a result of the Presidential election of 1960, which itself was decided in large part on the basis of the first of four presidential debates.

These debates pitted Vice President Richard Nixon against the younger-looking Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy. Both men were members of the World War II generation; and each had served as U.S. Naval Officers in the Pacific Theater. At the time of the debates Nixon was 47 years old and Kennedy was 4 years his junior. Regardless of who won, the election marked the first time since 42-year old Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the Presidency after the death of William McKinley in 1901, that any man under the age of 50 would hold that office. In the years since Theodore Roosevelt, the average age of our Presidents at inauguration had been 55.

Though the age difference between the two candidates in 1960 was minimal, in the election campaign of that year Richard Nixon came to represent the old, the traditional, and the status quo. Eight years as Vice President marked him as a professional politician, which perhaps for the first time since the election of Andrew Jackson more than a century earlier, became a liability rather than an asset.

Immediately prior to the first debate Nixon had been ill and he was still suffering the lingering effects of hospital recuperation. Despite this, the day before the first debate the Vice President addressed five different rallies in Chicago, then awoke early on the morning of the 26th for a speech to the Carpentersí Union. For the Vice President it was politics as usual. He refused to rehearse for the televised event, insisting that he knew how to debate, which indeed he had demonstrated through a successful political career.

Nixon had chosen Chicago as the site for the first debate; it was a city steeped in traditional politics and recognized for all the dubious insider dealings that greased the wheels of the establishment. He was first to arrive at the studio of Channel 2, the CBS affiliate. While exiting his car he bumped his knee, which was still healing from an infection. Shaking off the pain his face could not belie, Nixon went into campaign mode and deftly working the phalanx of television executives, photographers, and reporters. It was the tried and true way of politics. This time, it didnít work!

The Defining Generation: Copyright © 2006 by Doug and Pam Sterner
All Rights Reserved

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cover & Introduction
     Preface
Out With the Old
     The Defining Generation

I. - Defining the New
     John Fitzgerald Kennedy
     Roger H.C. Donlon
     Robert Robin Moore
     Barry Sadler
     The Green Beret

II. - Defining Equality
     When Worlds Collide
     Dr. Martin Luther King
     Jimmy Stanford & Vince Yrineo
     Milton Lee Olive, III
     Specialist Lawrence Joel
     Sammy Lee Davis
     Black MOH Recipients - Vietnam War

III. - Defining the Role of the Sexes
     Evolution of a Husband
     Remember the Ladies
     Rosie the Riveter
     Dr. Marguerite Guzman Bouvard
     Linda G. Alvarado
     Karen Irene Offutt
     Women in Military Service
     Lieutenant General Carol Mutter
     The Modern Woman in Combat
IV. - Defining Human Rights
     My Brother's Keeper
     Who is My Brother
     Christopher Dodd & Christopher Shays
     Peace Corps Politicians (Memories)
     Don Bendell
     Sir Edward Artis
     General Colin L. Powell

V. - Defining Entertainment
     Life Imitating Art
     Troubled Waters
     Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
     Brian's Song
     All in the Family
     Adrian Cronauer

VI. - Defining Dissent

     From Berkeley With Love
     The Pen and the Sword
     General David Shoup
     Muhammad Ali
     John Forbes Kerry

VII. - Defining the Future of Politics
     An Act of Congress
     All Politics is....Hereditary?
     Hillary Rodham Clinton
     Condoleezza Rice
     James Henry Webb
The next Section is scheduled for posting on May 20, 2011
VIII. - Defining Memories
     Jaime Pacheco
     The Glory of their Deeds
     Jan Scruggs
     Delbert Schmeling
     Peter C. Lemon

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
The authors extend our thanks to the following who granted personal interviews for this work
: Roger Donlon (MOH), Robin Moore, Don Bendell, Jimmy Stanford, Vince Yrineo, Sammy L. Davis (MOH), Linda Alvarado, Karen Offutt, Lieutenant General Carol Mutter, Sir Edward Artis, General Colin L. Powell, Katharine Houghton, Adrian Cronauer, Jan Scruggs, Delbert Schmeling, and Peter Lemon (MOH).
Our thanks to the staff of the following who either wrote or allowed reprint of their own works for this book: Dr. Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Don Bendell, Congressman Sam Farr, Congressman Thomas Petri, Congressman Mike Honda, Congressman Jim Walsh, Governor Jim Doyle, and Scott Baron.
Our special thanks also to the staff of the following who provided information and fact-checked the chapters related to their subject: Staff of Senator John Kerry, Staff of (then) Senator Hillary Clinton, Staff of Senator Jim Webb
A SPECIAL THANKS also to Dr. Marguerite Guzman Bouvard for his assistance in writing and editing the entire section on the Role of the Sexes.

 

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