by Matt Viser | The Boston Globe
“BUTLER, Pa. — Some 965 high school graduates paraded into the high school stadium, surrounded by lush green trees and proud parents and the trill of an organ playing a celebratory theme.
“For the class of 1976, the future was as bright as their golden gowns.
“One speaker told them they had ‘almost unlimited opportunities.’ Sure, it’s a cliche uttered at countless graduation speeches. But in a country celebrating its bicentennial, and in a town that seemed still in its heyday, it certainly felt that way.
“The proof was close by as the new graduates sat in the bleachers watching the sun set that Friday night: two heavy-manufacturing plants, Pullman-Standard and Armco Steel, that provided not just a steady paycheck to thousands but provided the town with an identity.
“‘The world was ours for the taking … .’”