The Freeline Media Hour looks back at a decade that proved to be a turning point in American history.

Entire books have been devoted to this single year, 1968, which many observers think changed the world.

ORLANDO — Why the 1960s?
And why look back at that decade today?
Dexter Miller remembers the decade well. He graduated in the class of 1964 from his high school in Maryland, and immediately joined the Navy.
“I enlisted,” said Miller, who runs Revenue Management Systems Inc. in downtown Orlando.
“I did not worry about the draft, would not have worried about the draft,” he added. “I was not ready for college, so I went in the Navy.”
That was in August of 1964. Within a year, he was in South Vietnam, an early part of a war that eventually tore this nation apart — and in many ways permanently changed the way Americans look at their government, their cultural values, and their society.
“I got to Vietnam in October of 1965,” Miller said. “We were way early of the deployment over there. We were one of the first groupings.”
Miller, the co-host of The Freeline Media Hour on the Phoenix Network, will have a lot to say about how the 1960s proved to be one of the most pivotal and influential — in both positive and negative ways — decades in our nation’s history. On Thursday, May 5, The Freeline Media Hour with Miller, host Mike Freeman and special co-host Sean Heaney will look back at the 1960s, and why that decade still resonates today — politically, culturally, and in a host of other ways.
“It was the evolution of the revolution,” said Doug Guetzloe, president of the Phoenix Network and host of The Guetzloe Hour. “The 1960s was a catalyst decade. Young people for the first time got involved in the political process. But they also got involved in drugs as well.”
The 1960s actually started out as a decade when people felt optimistic about their future. The nation had elected the youthful senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, to be America’s first Catholic president, shattering an old religious barrier, and people still believed in the government as a tool to improve their daily lives.
“The thing about the 60s,” Miller said, “is it started with us listening to American rock ‘n roll, and then came the British invasion with the Beatles,” he said. “Things started to change, it seems to me, with the assassination of President Kennedy.”
But even after Kennedy’s tragic death in November 1963, the nation still seemed to believe in its government. Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Johnson, ran for re-election in 1964 promising Americans a “Great Society,” with an expanded social safety net that attacked poverty in America. Johnson won a landslide election over Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, a conserative who called for reducing government spending and turning more powers over to the states — the precursor of many in today’s Tea Party movement.
“We went from the assassination of Kennedy to the Great Society, which is bankrupting this county even today,” Guetzloe said.
Miller said another turning point was when President Johnson urged Congress to authorize military action in Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident between North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. That happened on Aug. 2, 1964, when the destroyer USS Maddox was engaged by three North Nietnamese Navy torpedo boats, resulting in a sea battle. One U.S. aircraft was damaged, prompting President Johnson to call on Congress to authorize the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving his administration authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be threatened by “communist aggression.”
It was the start of the decade-long Vietnam war.
What was truly different about this war, Miller said, was television. In-between wholesome television programs like “Gunsmoke” and “Bewitched” were news reports from Vietnam — bringing the violence and choas of that war home in stark reality.
“Television brought our involvement in the Vietnam War right into our homes on a daily basis,” he said. It also led to a growing skepticism that what was happening in Vietnam was as rosy and optimistic as the Johnson administration claimed.
“The class of ’64 in my high school, it just seems to me 1964 changed everything,” Miller said. “Even people who graduated in 1965 had a different outlook.”
The optimism of 1964 led to a growing sense of pessimism in the next few years. Miller came home to Maryland in November of 1967. Today, he still recalls 1968 as one of the most tumulous, unsettling and traumatic years in American history.
The Tet Offensive, launched on Jan. 31, 1968, may have become the moment when Americans started to lose faith in what their political leaders were telling them about how the war was progressing. Johnson was challenged in the Democratic primaries by Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy — and ended up dropping out of the race altogether. Martin Luther King Jr. and New York Sen. Robert Kennedy were both assassinated. The Democratic Party convention in Chicago that nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey as its presidential candidate was the scene of violent rioting between anti-war student protestors and Chicago police.
“It was a wild year,” said Guetzloe, who was 13 at the time and started off 1968 as a McCarthy supporter. He eventually would gravitate to the man who won the election that November, former Vice President Richard Nixon.
“There were more young people supporting Richard Nixon than Eugene McCarthy,” Guetzloe said.
“I think the world changed in the late 1960s,” Miller said. “All the people who were hippies then are running the country today. They’re all the people who are adults in charge of everything. Look at how it’s changed America since then. Our hearts and minds are different today than they were in the late 1960s.”
“It’s a fascinating decade to look at,” Guetzloe said. “It was just a shocking, dramatic, vibrant decade, and there’s never been another decade like it.”
Tune in on Thursday, May 3 at 3 p.m. on www.PhoenixNetwork.US to hear a frank discussion on how the 1960s brought us to where we are today, in the spring of 2011.

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Father of a teenage boy killed in a tragic accident roots for the movie made in his son’s honor.

ORLANDO – Steve Abbate has been on a whirlwind tour to let people know about the movie “The 5th Quarter,” an independently-produced feature length film that’s played in Orlando. It’s a movie Abbate is passionate about, which is why he’s working so hard to get the word out about it.
“We were on the Mike Huckabee show (on Fox) last week, and we did an interview CNN on Monday,” Abbate said.
Abbate isn’t a filmmaker, though, or an actor in the movie. In fact, actor Aidan Quinn portrays Abbate himself in the movie, which is not only a true story, but is rooted in a terrible incident that devastated the Abbate family: the death of their teen-age son Luke in a car accident.
“He was a kid who did something very purposeful,” Abbate said. “No other kid should go through that.”
“The 5th Quarter” opened on March 25. At the heart of the movie – and the true story behind it – is a portrait of how one family coped with the tragic loss of their son.
“ ‘The 5th Quarter’ is a story about family and faith,” said Abbate when he was a guest on The Freeline Media Hour on the Phoenix Network. “We’ve been having premieres, including one here in Orlando.”
In February 2006, their son Luke accepted a ride home from a classmate after lacrosse practice. It would turn out to be a tragic mistake.
Abbate said the classmate driving the car started to speed at 90 miles per hour, despite the protest of Luke and the other passengers.
“To scare his classmates, he went down a road going 90 miles per hour,” Abbate said. “He had done this before.”
Only this time, it ended in disaster. The car went down a 70 foot embankment, and Luke sustained severe head trauma from the crash.
“There was no blood flowing to his brain,” Abbate said. “He was virtually gone.”
Luke suffered irreparable brain damage and died in the hospital two days later – just four days short of his 16th birthday.
While at the hospital, the Abbate family made the difficult decision to allow doctors to utilize Luke’s organs as part of a nationwide organ transplant program.
“Five people received Luke’s organs,” Abbate said, adding that the five recipients were identified almost immediately, including a young woman suffering from a serious heart disease who shared an uncommon blood type with Luke.
Luke’s heart was flown to the young woman’s hospital, and the transplant saved her life.
Following Luke’s death, his older brother Jon thought about ending his football career – but instead decided to keep playing, and to honor the younger brother who looked up to him.
Jon asked his coach for permission to change his long-standing number from 40 to 5 – Luke’s number. The team also dedicated the new season to the memory of Luke.
“Jon wasn’t sure he wanted to go back and play without his brother,” Abbate recalled. But when he did, “The team and the stands all did the same to honor Luke, and we won that game. That’s really how the movie ‘5th Quarter’ came about.”
As a result, the Abbate family formed the Luke Abbate 5th Quarter Foundation to educate young people nationwide about the dangers of irresponsible driving.
Press coverage of this story caught the attention of producer/director Rick Bieber, who thought it would make an inspirational film. He met with the family and set out to tell Luke’s story as honestly as possible.
“We decided we wanted to honor Luke’s life and death,” Abbate said. “We signed on really a napkin to have Rick investigate the opportunity to write a script. A year later, he came back to us with a script. There were very few things we asked him to change.”
Watching the movie, Abbate said he was struck at how accurate it was.
“That’s 94 percent of our words coming out of the actor’s mouths,” he said. “It’s kind of surreal to see what happened to our family in a 90-minute film. To me, it’s almost healing.”
They also saw an opportunity through this movie to show how tragedy can bring a community together, and also to send a positive message about the importance of organ donations.
“That’s our desire, that the movie will spread awareness of organ donations,” Abbate said, noting that the young woman, Casey, who got Luke’s heart has met the family.
“When the movie was actually filmed, we had not met Casey, the heart recipient,” he said. “Then we had an opportunity to meet Casey. She is doing quite well. It was an honor for us to meet her.”
And meeting her, he added, reminded the family that “Part of Luke is still alive today. It’s one of those ‘Wow’ moments you hope for.”
Abbate said he hopes those messages get through to young people.
“Who wants to go see a movie about a boy who died? There has to be something more to it than that,” he said. “What the movie shows is that the entire community wanted to support Jon, and they knew how much it meant to him to win that game. It is very uplifting.”
To learn more about the movie, log on to or check out the movie’s Facebook page to learn what theater it’s playing in.

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Poinciana’s transition from bedroom community to jobs generator may owe much to a new online site.

Poinciana has long billed itself as a great place to buy a home. Now the community is ready for jobs, too.

POINCIANA – For years – throughout most of the community’s history, in fact – Poinciana was a bedroom community. People moved here to buy or rent a home, while working somewhere else, most likely the theme parks or in Orlando.
Now the community of 69,000 people, spread out across 10 villages in both Osceola and Polk counties, could be on the verge of having a much healthier mix of jobs and houses. The catalyst for the change is the fact that Osceola Regional Medical Center is planning to build the first hospital in Poinciana, and will break ground this year on the first part of that hospital, a medical arts building.
With those buildings on the way – and the promise of not just new construction jobs, but permanent medical and administrative positions as well — Leo Delgada is sending out the word to the residents of Poinciana: if you have a particular job skill, he wants to know about it.
“We have a new initiative on jobs,” said Delgada. “The hospital is to be built soon, and some of the other commercial buildings around it, and this has become a tool for finding employment in Poinciana. We’ve become a conduit for the developer and getting people into jobs. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Delgada is the president of the Poinciana Digital Village, a Web site that aims to become a creative way to unite the people of Poinciana, and provide them with news about their community and their own village, as well as a source for helping people find jobs. One of the resources available on the site is a section where people can post their resumes so future employers can tap into their skills.
“There’s always a lot of talent here,” Delgada said. “We can communicate between a job applicant and an employer, and we think it has a lot of potential here.”
Traditionally, Poinciana’s villages were mainly filled with residential units. That began to change during the height of the housing boom in 2005-2006, when a growing number of commercial strip plazas opened up, attracting businesses that wanted to provide services to all the new residents moving in here.
The Poinciana hospital, though, may be a game changer for the community, since it has the potential to generate a growing number of spin-off jobs related to the health care industry – or simply new businesses like restaurants hoping to serve the people working at the hospital.
Delgada said residents should act now to let the hospital’s builders know what kind of talent is available in the community.
“Basically, sign up for the site and we are the conduit between the employers and the residents by posting jobs when they become available,” he said. “People can post their resume and make it available to the employer.”
Delgada said he expects Poinciana to begin to see solid and steady job growth in the next few years, changing it from a bedroom community where people work somewhere else to a community where people can find jobs close to their home.
“I think the community leaders see this as an opportunity to have jobs for our people,” he said. “It is a big trend. I think the community has come of age.”
The Poinciana Digital Village was created by the Association of Poinciana Villages, the homeowner’s association for the community, as a way to create a central online location for the entire community, a place where they can get local news, traffic and weather reports, job resources, and more.
“We’re hoping that we become a source of bringing this community together and giving it an identity because it has been years without that,” Delgada said. “I went to a school budget committee meeting and I was amazed at the activities going on at the school, and they have no way to advertise that to the community. There may be volunteer opportunities with the schools and nobody knows this unless you’re right there in front of them.”
It also enables the homeowners association to reach out to more residents — assuming they sign up for the site, Delgada said.
“This is absolutely going to help even for the APV to communicate with people,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of email addresses.”

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