Forty-nine years ago today, the gates swung open at the New York World's Fair. Forty-nine years ago today, the future began.
After years of construction, the green fields of Flushing Meadows Corona Park had transformed into a meeting place for vibrant cultures of the world, thriving corporations of the present, and astounding technologies of the future. That first day saw thousands of people (although far fewer than expected) rush into Flushing Meadows. For many, it was their first experience at a world's fair. For others, it was a chance to relive the excitement they felt attending the '39-40 fair on the same site.
Kids and adults alike were exposed to representatives from countries they'd never be able to visit. Cultural exchanges were made through art, dance, and music.
At times, it can be hard to believe we will ever fully understand one another. It seems our differences far outpace our similarities. The fair showed us, in a decade that had plenty of horrific events, from assassinations to the war in Vietnam, from civil rights struggles, to a church bombing in Alabama, that peace and understanding are possible. Peace through understanding was after all, the theme of the fair.
While a year from now we can all celebrate the 50th anniversary of this iconic event, let's take this anniversary to remember the promise and escape the fair provided in a time of uneasiness. It might help us to realize that the evils we face today aren't all that different from those of the past.
We live in a world more inter-connected than at any other time in history. Surely we can use those connections for understanding: to create the world that was promised at the fair.