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Editorial: Time capsule didn’t capture spirit of sixties

Last modified: 6/11/2015 12:35:51 AM
After months of fanfare and speculation, the time capsule entombed beneath City Plaza on Main Street was finally opened and its contents revealed – largely to yawns. The lackluster nature of the contents was perhaps a reflection of the times, and of far greater importance to the community of civic organizations, churches and major employers.

It may be that the members of the time capsule committee were very serious people laboring under a weighty responsibility. It could be that the spirit of the sixties, which was moving east from California and north from New York City and Boston, hadn’t made it to Concord by 1965, for there’s no sign of a sense of humor in the capsule.

It didn’t have to be that way.

The Aug. 3, 1965, edition of the Monitor included in the capsule contains two front-page stories that point to the turbulence sweeping the nation. One reports on a news conference held by then Secretary of State Dean Rusk on progress in the Vietnam War: 51,000 American troops were in Vietnam that year. The capsule contained no mention of any troops from Concord.

This is the lead on the other story: “A landmark bill designed to assure Southern Negroes their constitutional right to vote is set for final House approval today.” The Civil Rights Act soon became law.

What the box did contain – the material is on display at the Concord Public Library – is brief histories of 50 Concord organizations. It held a small piece of marble from Concord’s once grand railroad station. It contained medals and proclamations, and a number of items that, while interesting, had nothing to do with 1965. One is a copy of two sermons given in 1831, the other a copy of the proclamation declaring that Concord, once known as Rumford, was by the judgment of the king not really owned by residents of the Parish of Bow, as that town claimed, and its settlers could not be evicted.

There were things that we wish would have been in the capsule: a can or label from SpaghettiOs, which came out that year; a program from the 1965 Celtics championship team led by Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Bill Russell; music of the day by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Dylan on 45s; a movie poster from the old Concord Theatre run by the Cantin sisters; a menu from the lunch counter in Woolworth; and a copy of the first Medicare card issued to a Concord resident. Others no doubt have their wishes.

A Concord Historical Society committee is collecting suggestions for what to put in the time capsule, which will be reburied. We have a few.

How about a small piece of the Sewalls Falls bridge; a roster of city residents who served in Iraq and Afghanistan; a list of the movies shown at Red River Theatres; a thumb drive with music from Concord bands; a copy of a gay couple’s marriage license; photos that depict the city’s increasing diversity; and pictures taken on Main Street during Market Days with a focus on people’s tattoos – a fashion statement that may have run its course by 2065.

And, just for laughs, put in a collection of photos of the 2015 presidential candidates campaigning in Concord. Or, 50 years from now, will people look back on those and weep?


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