Steve Bucek
Class of 1978
"[I remember our] choir trip to Romania at the end of the 1975 school year. The country had just endured Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon, and there was a lot of anti-American sentiment going around. On our [flight] to Europe, many of the students on board were speaking ill of the USA. Now, I had been to Czechoslovakia the summer before, visiting family, and having had that experience, I told the protesters that when we returned from this trip, they would be kissing the ground at JFK. I got laughed off, but I had the final laugh. Even though the Romanian government showed us the best that their country could offer, kept us in their best hotels, allowing us to sing for and meet President Ceausescu, we sensed not only the Communist oppression (of their citizens as well as us, as we knew that we were being spied on constantly) but also the dinginess and depravity of the country. We were on a cultural exchange that included three college groups as well as us, and we all got together late in the tour at a Black Sea resort. The rendition of 'The Star- Spangled Banner' that broke out within the assembled group still makes the hair on the back of my neck stick up when I think of it. And when we did land at JFK, there was cheering and relief galore!"