Serious musings alert. There are many unknowns the first time any generation faces a crisis. For those of us of a certain age, the 1960s were when lots of parents/grandparents weren’t certain the country would survive. The Vietnam War brought protests to a scale they had not previously experienced. There were riots with huge swaths of cities ablaze, assassinations, the ever-present Cold War and nuclear arms build-up. If we took the time to listen to our grandparents, they told of struggles during the Great Depression and impact of World War II.
This means my generation might not have fully understood the 1960s, yet most of us were changed in different ways by immense cultural shifts that occurred. We entered then into uncertainty of the 1970s which for a variety of reasons took us to a point of the period that became known as American Malaise; gas shortages, high inflation, and the terrible taking of the American Embassy in Iran where fifty-two were held hostage for more than a year. (The movie Argo in an excellent treatment of some who escaped initial capture and isn’t even too over-the-top). The era of President Ronald Reagan brought a remarkable time with a revived economy and an ultimate end to the Cold War. On the other hand, new dangers arose. Desert Storm also brought a much-needed boost to the U.S. military, which I won’t go into in this post.
For Generation X, (those not personally touched by Desert Storm), the horrors of 9/11 was the equivalent of our parents/grandparents’ Pearl Harbor and their first impact of a world-changing event. There have of course been regional natural disasters of hurricanes, tornadoes, etc., tens of thousands have been through.
For Millennials and Generation Z, the Corona Virus pandemic may, however, be their first major-scale crisis. Perspective is important. Let us hope the current turmoil ends soon, but also work with our younger generations to assure them we have dealt with crisis before.