"Shame on Them"
The Decline of Cold War Pageantry
By the late 1950s the public support for American cold-war pageantry was subsiding. In the 1960s the consensus from which that support sprang also ebbed. American enthusiasm for thick pageantry, for suffering pretended perils, had always had narrow boundaries. Mosinee became dim memory, not common practice. Those who craved counterfactual play might throw themselves into civil-defense activities. Interest in recurrent observances like Loyalty Day and Armed Forces Day declined too. The Freedom Train was history, though some of the documents it carried lived on in occasional newspaper supplements or on airport walls.
Patriotic activism was hardly dead. Its usage had become less obtrusive yet also more customary--school flag-raisings, the National Anthem played regularly at sports events. While patriotic practice thrived on these levels, larger projects, the more elaborate civic pageantry initiated by the center and right-of-center of the political spectrum, declined. Farther right, however, and farther left, public ceremonial display enjoyed renewed vitality. We deed the 1960s to the Left. The machinery of our memory keeps rewinding footage of civil-rights marches, Pentagon levitations, and varied leftist street theatre, but these images are a construct shaped and later consented to by the media. The Left may have owned the 60s,