22.3.06

50 years ago, there was something called civil defense

so apparently in all that stone under the entrance ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge, DOT workers found a hidden vault full of cold-war era provisions.
City workers were conducting a regular structural inspection of the bridge last Wednesday when they came across the cold-war-era hoard of water drums, medical supplies, paper blankets, drugs and calorie-packed crackers — an estimated 352,000 of them, sealed in dozens of watertight metal canisters and, it seems, still edible.

To step inside the vault — a dank and lightless room where the walls are lined with dusty boxes — is to be vividly reminded of the anxieties that dominated American life during the military rivalry with the Soviet Union, an era when air-raid sirens and fallout shelters were standard elements of the grade-school curriculum.

from the nytimes

while this is cool just from a city nerd/archeologist perspective, what really caught my attention was the description of daily life during that time, especially since monday marked the three year anniversary of the war in Iraq, i know my daily life hasn't changed much from three years ago
For the officials who gave the tour, the discovery set off some strong memories. Judith E. Bergtraum, the department's first deputy commissioner, recalled air-raid drills — "first it was under the desk and then it was in the hall" — at Public School 165 in Queens. Russell Holcomb, a deputy chief bridge engineer, remembered watching Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe at the United Nations in 1960 on television.
this makes me wonder, if our daily lives were actually impacted by the Iraq war and the "homefront" was more than a idea - as in, having regular terrorism drills, or plant victory gardens, or have our jobs and industries retooled for the war effort- would the war have dragged on for this long?

on a total tangent, Kenneth T. Jackson, who commented on the find in the article, wrote crabgrass frontier, one of the best books i've ever read. he also teaches an undergrad class at columbia on the history of new york city, complete with walking tours - this is one of those very, very rare instances where i am actually jealous of CU undergrads.

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