If you live long enough, you find out “emotional distance” is an oxymoron, especially dealing with the past. Fittingly, bringing Hillsville’s Time Capsule back to the surface is like taking up a conversation with a long-absent best friend where you left off. A chat more reflection than remembrance in the shadow of 1968’s turmoil.
The upcoming capsule reveal is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. this Saturday, May 12. Town Council approved a parade permit on April 23. Tentatively, June 9 will be the official unveiling and display of the 50-year old container’s contents. September 8 has been slated for the date for the Capsule to be re-buried with new contents.
The Town will close the area off to through traffic for increased safety to pedestrians. This will occur in the midst of the Town’s Summer Nights Concert & Classic Car Cruise-In. The Hillsville Police Department will provide traffic control for all three events. The three dates coincide with Cruise-Ins already scheduled to be held. The May 12 program will begin with a welcome from Mayor Crowder. Tom Jackson will speak about the events unfolding in America in 1968 during a historical presentation.
Former Carroll Drug owner Bill Copeland will tell the story behind the fire which burned the old Carroll Drug that led to the time capsule’s burial as part of a grand opening ceremony on April 1, 1968. Following Copeland’s remarks, the time capsule will be excavated. Its contents will then be on display at the next car show and Summer Night Concert Series on June 9.
Carroll County was not immune to the indelible, painful parts of this era, namely the Vietnam War, as evidenced by the local names of those who gave their lives for their country on the Vietnam Memorial at the Carroll County Governmental Complex. Those killed in action during the War include E.G. Akers, Joseph Bowman, Dickey L. Cooley, Tommy E. Dickerson, Raymond Harrell, Lonnie R. Bates, Clifford (Jerry) Earnhardt, Richard C. Lundy, Myron Williams, Donald L. Stoneman, Richard T. Warner and Harry L. Sumner.
North Korea captured the USS Pueblo on January 3, claiming the ship had violated its territorial waters while spying. On January 30, America’s war effort in Vietnam suffered the infamous “Tet Offensive” launches by the Viet Cong and North Vietnam against South Vietnam, the U.S. and its allies. (The Viet Cong attacked the U.S. Embassy in Saigon the next day.)
On April 4 of that year, the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior was shot dead at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. (President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 on April 11, 1968.) On June 5, U.S. Presidential Candidate Robert F. Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angles, California. Kennedy died from his injuries the next day.
There were also positive notes in 1968. On October 10, the Detroit Tigers won the World Series; on November 3, Richard Nixon was elected President of the United States, and on December 24, the manned Apollo 8 space mission orbited the moon. Television also had its moments in 1968 with shows which became cultural markers in the coming years. This small screen pantheon includes the likes of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” “Mayberry R.F.D,” “Bonanza” and “Gunsmoke.”
Carroll County has been abuzz over the last month about the opening of the time capsule as citizens have expressed great interest over the contents on that copper vessel wrapped in concrete. This Saturday will be the step in reconnecting with our past.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.