What America thought of the event was described in several ways in the TIME’s article. For one, America thought the event to be “history’s largest happening. ” However, being large did not automatically become equivalent to being great. America viewed the event both commendingly and waringly. In all its beauty, America admired Woodstock for being able to gather people together, while not incurring any cases of rapes and such other crimes. America admired Woodstock for showcasing the power of the youth.
America admired Woodstock for it “produced a feeling of friendship, camaraderie, and – an overused phrase – a sense of love among those present” (TIME, 1969). However, America was also wary of the power and implications of such an event. For one, they were naturally disturbed about what was shouted as “the pervasiveness of a national subculture of drugs” (TIME, 1969). Along with this was the blatant exposition of a culture of nudity and sexual acts. Thus, it is easy to imagine how a parent would react if he learned that his precious child used heroin and ran along the streets naked, or even had sex in the streets.
America was also worried about the fact that these half a million youths, who were just a representative of all the other youths in America who shared the same practices and sentiments, valued themselves over their society, and their “trips” over the law. It could have been daunting for America to realize that the youth of their nation had their ways as different as could be from the ways of their parents, and that they could not be controlled anymore. In general, America might have been divided in their perception of Woodstock as both something to rejoice about, and something to worry about.
But altogether, what they though about Woodstock is its “bigness,” which means that whatever the event implied could have implications for America at large and in the long run . In the same way that America perceived Woodstock as many facets of a single event, it also saw Woodstock as a symbol of various idealisms and realities. For the youth of America, Woodstock was a shining symbol that they were not isolated in their ways and in their advocacies. For them, Woodstock symbolized that they were “what’s happening .
” It was a symbol for the youth of their success in showing the adults that they are powerful, that they followed a different law, but also that they could and would be able to create peace in situations “where none should have existed” (TIME, 1969). For the rest of America, Woodstock became a symbol of “both a revelation and a sobering lesson . ” Woodstock opened their eyes to what their youths are, and to what their youths could do. It showed them how their youths have been so involved with drugs and deviation from law.
It also showed them how powerful these youths have become, and how the minds of these youths are not anymore under their control. It showed them how the future of America would become in the hands of its future caretakers. It showed them that the new fad was to value doing one’s “own thing” as a duty rather than to become a good citizen in the terms that have been previously defined by the American society . It showed them what a big “change” is happening at that time. However, it also showed them that change from previous order does not necessarily mean disorder.
They may not have the same ideas and practices that the youth of the time had , but Woodstock showed them that the change that the hippies brought could be synonymous to peace and order, and that it could all be “beautiful” even in the hands of the youth whose idealism they still haven’t managed to understand. It showed them that though following a different set of standards, society could still do well in saluting the youth for their exemplary behavior of courtesy, camaraderie, and non-materialism .
Woodstock also became a symbol to make the rest of America understand that the youth is hungry for a sense of community and of belongingness . Gone are the times when people valued material things such as cars and other kinds of luxuries. The youth showed that what they wanted was not the technology and material things that they have been born with. They showed that what really mattered for them was simply to belong, and as long as they had that, they did not care if they slept in marshes and had no water to drink and toilets for their convenience.
They voiced out what mattered for their generation. In a nutshell, Woodstock meant the present and the future for America that was entirely different from the past, yet offering a renewed sense of betterment for the society. It spelled out a shocking difference for the yesterday, but also the energy and dynamism of today. Along with this, it also meant a reconsidering of what was happening in a more open-minded, but all the more critical pint of view.