To the Antigo Journal:

Alright, raise your hand if you remember the Woodstock Music Festival in New York state. It was in late August of 1969. For three days in the rain and mud, 400,000 American counter culture youths enjoyed the music and other things.

In December of 1968 the Hong Kong flu arrived in the United States, peaking in the summer of 1969. If you remember the Woodstock Festival you will remember the school closings, the shutting down of restaurants, movies and taverns. You will recall that governments closed down churches, factories and enforced social distancing and the wearing of face masks in public. 

You remember not playing in playgrounds or going to the beach. Millions of people lost their jobs and their places of business. You will remember that unemployment was in the millions, and trillions of dollars were added to the debt. Do you remember the constant attention the mass media gave to the Hong Kong flu? What, you don’t remember any of that? That is because none of that ever happened!

Americans went about their daily activities of going to work, taking care of their families, traveling to see friends and family.

The Hong Kong flu of 1969 killed 100,000 people in the United States, mostly over the age of 65 and one million worldwide. Life span in the U.S. then, was 70 years in a population of 200 million. Today it is 78 years in a population of 328 million.

The contrast between 1969 and 2020 couldn’t be more striking. What happened between then and now? Back then, didn’t we know what a virus was? Or were they smarter and we are idiots or at least our government are.. or is there, today, a political element?

Oh, sorry, you can put your hands down. If today’s lockdown was in place then, Woodstock never would have occurred and its culture and music lost forever. Are we at that point today of losing our liberties and freedom?

As Benjamin Franklin in 1755 wrote to the governor of Pennsylvania, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


Jim Alfonso