Sunday, February 9, 2014

Life in a Northern Town

The symmetry is so perfect I suspect it's not a coincidence though who might be responsible for it is unclear at least to me.

Fifty years, tonight, half a century ago, 18,264 days, 2609 weeks (and a day), 438,312 hours, 26,298,720 minutes, or 1,577,923,200 seconds, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr capped both halves of the Ed Sullivan Show in their first of three appearances on his variety show and reinvented the world.

If you weren't alive to see it/feel it and be a part of it, I realize that sounds insufferably arrogant and it would be except that it is entirely and completely true.

The United States of America on the second Sunday of February 1964, was still a nation in mourning. Our President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been murdered in Dallas Texas just two and a half months previously.

The world as it was to be, with nearly a half million Americans in uniform up to their belt buckles in rice paddies half a world away in places few of us could pronounce and fewer still could locate was still forming.

Civil rights was a bitter dividing line, not an accepted part of our every day lives of American society and we were light years away from expanding the concept of civil rights to the reality of equal rights. A journey that continues to this day.

But when the four lads from Liverpool stood on the stage and the building rocked from the screaming fans, and echoed across every state of the nation, we may not have known what it was called but we knew it had started.

And while you can blow out a candle, you can't blow out a fire and when the Ed Sullivan Show ended fifty years ago tonight, we knew the life we had lived, was ablaze and its flames cast wondrous and terrible shapes against a world whose darkness we could not even begin to imagine.
-bill kenny

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