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The Resilience of Children - Today and Yesterday

I couldn't help but tear up while watching the Sandy Hook Choir perform "America the Beautiful" on Super Bowl Sunday. I wasn't alone. All I could think about was what those kids had gone through just weeks ago – losing friends and siblings, experiencing a tragedy we only hope our own children never have to face. 

And then I saw this:

Sandy Hook
AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how they left the field. I teared up even more.

It reminded me of photo I came across in our digital image collection while researching the You Are There exhibit we're opening in March. I was looking for "flood sufferers" – survivors of the Great Flood of 1913 that devastated our state. This is what I found:

Flood kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children. Smiling. Goofing off. Finding joy.

Of course, we can find resilient kids all through the history books and all through our own photo archives – children who survived wartime, civil unrest, natural disaster, the Great Depression and personal adversity. But right now at the History Center, you can find them in the photos in You Are There 1955: Ending Polio.

Imagine what it was like to be a child back then. Frightened parents kept their kids home – away from public places like pools and movie theaters and even schools. But children persevered. They made their own fun. They rolled up their sleeves for vaccinations. Or maybe they weren't so lucky, like this little girl:

Polio
Boston Children's Hospital Archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But they kept smiling.

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