How Living through History Guides a Life

By:   Patrick Loftus

Originally Published on March 29th, 2018

As the youngest of 5 siblings, in a family of working Catholic parents, I feel I was in a unique position to develop a rich interest in history.  At age 11, my brothers, Dennis and Mike, were stationed in Vietnam, South Korea.  I felt constant worry back then, often crying and fixated on news reports from Saigon.  Dennis and Mike made it back, both having difficulty coping with life in their immediate futures.


Many Saturday evenings, my parents would entertain relatives and friends, arguing whether FDR, Truman or JFK were great presidents.   I kept an ear on their lively discussions while I watched Hockey Night in Canada.  Their conversations seemed to be respectful and eager for one another’s viewpoints.

In 1967, the Detriot Riots and aftermath impacted me as many relatives lived where curfews, police presence and racial tensions were happening.

In 1968, I closely followed the tragic events of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.

Wild tensions were displayed at the Democratic Convention, the Kent State shootings, the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre, Watergate, and in the Middle East.

On January 5, 1977, in Frankfurt Germany, I followed a group of individuals out of the Youth Hostel on Frankensteinerstrasse and into an abandoned warehouse.    I didn’t know who they were or their motivation.  Over 200 people seemed to display anger in a language other than Arabic.  After an hour, I left.   I later learned they were Iranian disciples of Ayatollah Khomeini and wanted the Shah, Reza Pahlavi, to be arrested.  Only a month later, several of these protestors came to Western Michigan University to protest on campus.  Shortly after this, I was a roomate to two Iranina gentlemen during the Iranian hostage crisis.

I carefully watched, read and lived through the fascinating 1960’s and 1970’s.   These historical and polical happenings peaked my interests and inspired me to take history classes at Western Michigan University from the likes of Sherwood Cordier, Dale Pattison and Howard Mowen.  I became a history teacher, teaching for over 25 years.


Patrick Loftus

Patrick J. Loftus, native from Mount Clemens and a 1976 graduate of L‘Anse Creuse High School, has lived in Port Huron since his marriage to Nancy in 1988. He graduated from Western Michigan University and earned teaching certification in 1984 in German and History. His profession took him to Carlyle, Illinois and East Detroit. Besides instruction, he coached soccer, tennis, Quiz Bowl, German Quiz Bowl, and Debate. Patrick had an enthusiastic German Club and took students to Germany in 1985, one of 5 trips he made mostly to German speaking lands. Mr. Loftus closely follows state and national politics. In his spare time, he follows and watches sports. He follows FC Köln and looks forward to his 30th Wedding Anniversary in April of 2018 to Cologne, Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Patrick places international exchange students at CETUSA (non-profit) in St. Clair, Macomb, Sanilac and Lapeer Counties as a Local Coordinator.


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