POLITICS
03/24/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Readers Remember The 1960s: "Change, Both Good And Bad"

The 1960s -- "probably the most prophetic and influential decade in memory," according to Air America president and HuffPost blogger Mark Green -- is half a century behind us. We asked HuffPost readers to send in their memories of the turbulent decade.

Carolyn Martin, from outside of Austin, Texas, remembers a time of ideal transformation, from ideas into action:

I have to say that the '60s are the only time I have ever felt such a sense of things being as they should be. We didn't just talk a good game, we went out and did it. With a vision of a better world and w/o speeches from our parents, we mustered our courage to break all the rules and mobilize a generation to demand change.

The word "change" has taken on a slippery import since powering the Obama campaign last year, but it stood for a clear phenomenon in the '60s, Martin writes.

The feeling was indescribable. I would love to give that gift to all who never did or never will experience it. It wasn't the "good ole days." It was the great days filled with hope and promise, love and peace, freedom and responsibility, and camaraderie and individualism with a killer musical soundtrack. Say what you might about the '60s, but it did change the world for the better and we are better for it."

Others remember a different legacy. One reader danangme from Pennsylvania sent a picture of his gear from being stationed to Chu Chu Lai RVN in 1969 (shown above).

One thought I often had at that time, while on 12-hour perimeter security duty was how just a few years ago I was watching The Vietnam War on the CBS morning news before I left for high school and now I was watching helicopters dropping flares all night long, live and in person. But that was the sixties in a nutshell, change, both good and bad.

Restlessness took hold even in sleepy parts of the country. Reader Carol Allison, writing from Virginia, recalls an evening during her freshman year at a Shenandoah Valley college, when a harmless rebellion took on disproportionate significance:

Typical of a warm, early spring Virginia night, co-eds sat in large open dormitory windows to read and study. Unexpectedly, the sound of a couple of co-eds barking and howling like dogs came from one dorm window. As the curious and amused opened their windows to check out the situation, they responded in kind. More and louder barking and howling ensued. Before long, the entire dormitory area of campus was barking and howling.

Suddenly, in an obvious panic, the house mother emerged from her dorm apartment and ran out the door. The poor beleaguered lady appeared to be in fear of her life!

The campus police were alerted to deal with the student uprising. Soon the local police arrived on scene. Within 30 minutes, state troopers rushed in with sirens wailing and lights flashing. All of this to quell the "radical student protest" and restore peace in the valley. The following morning, a brief article reported the radical student event in the New York Times.

The lingering effects of that "radical" standard is unclear, according to some readers, with the US once again facing great challenges at home and abroad.

JaneStillwater writes from the Bay Area in California:

I was THERE during the 1960s -- from Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley to the Lower East Side in New York City. What was the final result of all that 1960s protest ultimately? Sometimes it seems to me like today it only means we have more choices in car colors.