This last Sunday was Pentecost, while the choir was singing, two little girls started dancing in the center aisle. They were certainly in the groove, these girls could not have been more that three years old, but they sure liked the feel of the music. Those little girls were not alone, many of the adults were feeling the rhythm of the music and was allowing it to carry them along with the spirit.
While watching the girls dance I was reminded of a song I sang a few years ago in the church we were then attending. It was a song made popular by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World”. The third verse in the song came to mind as I watched those girls dance. The verse goes like this – “I see babies crying, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself what a wonderful world”.
Remembering that verse caused me to start thinking about all the things that I have learned or more importantly seen developed during the past 69 years. I remember when television first came to Portland, it broadcast on channel 27 with the call letters of KPTV, it was the first commercial station in the US to broadcast in the UHF band, later they changed over to the VHF band and channel 12. I also remember when KWG – 8, KOIN – 6, KATU – 2 and the educational channel that would later become KOPB – 10 signed on in Portland.
I remember the US testing atomic and later hydrogen and plutonium bombs just to stay ahead of the Soviets. Testing was first out in the middle the Pacific Ocean but later moved inland to the Nevada Proving Ground test site 65 miles north of Las Vegas. I have seen pictures and movies of people who lived in Las Vegas sitting in their living rooms or in hotel rooms watching the mushroom cloud develop those many miles away.
How many remember the big 2, 3 and four prop engine airliners before the advent of jet airliners. Four big, bulky jet engines propelled the planes though the sky, then smaller planes with two or three jet engines were developed. Then came the giant of the passenger planes, the 747 with four massive engines, double decker, this behemoth could fly nonstop from New York to Tokyo Japan, now smaller planes can fly the same distances.
The Soviets beat us into outer space, they placed Sputnik 1, the first manmade satellite into space, causing many in our government great embarrassment. The US then put our own satellite into space Explorer 1. I recall we would lay in the grass on warm summer nights and watch for the satellites to pass overhead as they reflected the sun. We were the first put man into orbit and on the moon, Later we teamed up with the Soviet Union and build and maintained the International Space Station.
Talking about space and satellites, we now have satellites that beam to us radio and television programs, and internet data. The military uses satellites for many missions that save the lives of our service personnel. Drones also are used to deliver munitions to areas not accessible to regular aircraft, and to gather and disseminate information on the battlefield.
The Century 21 Exposition (also known as the Seattle World’s Fair) in 1962 showed us new things that would be coming in the next century. Many of those things became available during the remaining years of the 20th century, and many more that were not imagined also came to life. A prime example is the computer, in 1962 a computer took up large rooms requiring vast amounts of air conditioning. Now they are on our desks, on our laps and hips in the form of laptops and cell phones. They have even tried to put them in our eyeglasses. Computers may be on our desks and in our phones, but they have not moved out the of air conditioned rooms, now they are called servers, small computers chained together and serve as the cloud to store vast amounts of information that can be retrieved anytime. Computers are networked together to share information, can you imagine getting along without email, the World Wide Web or social media?
Computers are not only in businesses and our homes, but also in our cars and trucks, they track where we go, how far we have gone, how long it took to get there, the speed, braking time, fuel mileage and a host of other information unbeknown to us. After an accident the police and insurance companies can download the information to help in the reconstruction of the accident. Cars are now being developed to drive themselves.
Medicine has come a long, long way. Remember when the only imaging machine was the X-Ray? Now we have the CT (Computed tomography) the MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging), and the PET (Position emission tomography). All of these machines new in the past 69 years. Cancer is more treatable now, and heart disease, according to NIH (National Institute of Health), has decreased 75% since early 1960’s.
Now imagine all the things these little girls and all the boys and girls will be seeing and learning about that have not been imagined. We can only guess at what these youngsters will see in their life time. Maybe it will be colonizing the moon, or Mars, or even further. How about going to the store or work in self flying cars like in the cartoon of the 60’s the Jetson’s. The future is in their hands, they will be the ones, both boys and girls, to forge ahead and make the unimaginable.