Losing icons of our generation

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Our generation lost another music icon Thursday when rock pioneer Prince died at his recording studio at his compound outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He joins a growing list of those who helped shape our awareness of various musical cultures in the 60s, 70s and 80:  David Bowie, Glenn Fry, Keith Emerson, Merle Haggard, Natalie Cole, Paul Kantner and others.

Our literary world lost Harper Lee, whose “To Kill a Mockingbird” helped define how many of us view racism in America.  Actors like Alan Rickman and George Kennedy left us.  So did comedian Gary Shandling.

The Daily Express of London tells us that we are losing more than 10 stars of our world a month so far in 2016.

Many of us are part of what somebody called “the baby boom” generation — those born right after the end of World War II and the years beyond.  All generations lose their icons.  We are part of the period where information is king so perhaps we are more aware of the losses.

I had the incredible luck to see, interview and photograph many of these people during the 10 years that I covered the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville just across the river at St. Louis.  As a reporter and photographer at The Telegraph in Alton I reviewed and covered Glenn Fry, Keith Emerson and others.  The last time I saw legendary banjo picker Earl Scruggs was backstage at the MRF.  We talked about music and living in the South.

Now they are gone, along with so many others who have passed in recent years,  The ones who helped mold our generation left many memories and contributions.

So have so many friends and acquaintances we grew up with or got to know over past decades.

One reaches a point in life where reflection on the past is part of facing an inevitable finale.

So many of those who have contributed so much to our lives bring back many pleasant memories.

And so much sadness when they are gone.

 

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