THE STEEPEST GENERATION
Every roller coaster has its ups and downs. You really cant go down unless you make that slow, clicking, tension-heightening, thrill-building climb to another expected crest. But what if you built a roller coaster that had one final slide down that picked up speed but never rounded the bottom of the valley it just kept going down? The riders are all experiencing the same concern, but the common hopeless reality grips the minds, while the hearts pacify themselves with the thrill of the last crest just experienced. The imminent demise is obvious, but few prepare, and no one has access to the brake. This is my description of The Steepest Generation.
The juniors in the band did the best they could playing Pomp and Circumstance, and we were all careful not to make an outburst of our inward silliness at having to take those half steps in harmony with the person half-walking next to you. At command, we marched across the stage, shook hands with the principal with one hand and accepted our diploma with the other. We then received a fold-up travel alarm clock from Mr. Terry Parker, the builder who donated the land for the school named after him. As we memorized the number of light fixtures inside the Jacksonville coliseum, while the commencement speaker said something about the past and the future, our thoughts were on the graduation party that night then the beach tomorrow, the summer ahead and college in the fall. The year was 1963 and the hope in all our hearts was bright, as we crested the dizzy height and began what none of us could possibly predict to be the final descent of the steepest generation.
Whether this descent was to be individual and of our own making, or whether this final height represented our great nation, or whether it was to involve the entire world in final doom was not comprehended in our thoughts that day at the top of the roller coaster.
The slow, clicking, tension-heightening, thrill-building climb to that crest was a most pleasurable 18 years where we enjoyed peace, prosperity, respectability and moral decency as the norm. Oh, of course, Washington simmered with political chicanery, and our classrooms were exercising in preparedness for the nuclear bomb, while being taught the woes of communism, but all this was a distant, uninvolved threat. After class, this woe had no direct affect upon us or our parents. Our week began in church, and our school day began with prayer and Bible. The distant hope of the next crest sustained us in our patriotic, theistic and simple daily habits, while our hearts only provided opportunity to toy with and imagine what sin was really about. We played in a wading pool of iniquity without a notion of the looming ocean of filth filled with twisted and drowning victims and a line of others waiting to jump in.
In our wading pool, if a couple slipped in over their heads they had to get married. A divorce was the hushed gossip of a disgraced family. An abortion only had to do with the saving of the life of the mother adoption, yes abortion, huh! A homosexual was confined to the lowest imaginable category of human involvement in perversion. Sex-ed in school? Are you kidding? We would have been embarrassed to attend class and where would you ever get a teacher? Condoms handed out in the classroom? Hee hee dont tell the principal. The only porn available was at the Roxy theater on the dark side of town. For those who could prove or feign legal age, it cost a dollar to see a flick with black bars hiding what we all knew ought to be hid. Mass murder was confined to a fabricated story to sell more Police Gazette magazines. Later the same year when the president of our country was shot and killed, it turned the world on its side in incredulous shock. Some today may mock this innocent bubble we lived in 50 years ago, but does any sane person prefer the aftermath of the bursting of this bubble?
Where is the bottom of this valley where where? We are all eagerly awaiting the next exciting climb, but this alumnus of fifty years does not predict another climb. Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 This Christian nation is a past tense. The only hope for any and all of us to escape the final crash at the end of this scary descent is only to be found in the following verse: repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ Acts 20:21.
The same year I graduated from high school, I took this emergency escape off of the doomed roller coaster and have been on the ascent ever since. The greatest thing in the world to know is to know for certain when you die that youre going to heaven. There is no valid argument against the above statement.
Dr. Gerald Sutek Th.D., Ph.D. (history)