In the Rearview

Looking back: 10, 25, 50 years ago - May 31-June 6

Pueblo honors Bataan vets, UNM hopes to identify the Taos hum, editorial slams hippies


- 10 YEARS AGO - 'Taos Pueblo honors veterans', By Rick Romancito, May 29, 2008

This Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans had a special focus: the two local veterans still living who survived one of the most horrific episodes of World War II, the Bataan Death March.

While the Taos Pueblo ceremony honored all veterans, living and dead, of all the U.S. wars of the 19th and 20th century, Tony Leyba, 93, of Taos Pueblo and Valdemar de Herrera of Costilla, were both present and especially recognized.

Both men were part of the battle for Bataan peninsula in the Philippines in 1942 and the ultimate Japanese capture of an estimated 60,000-80,000 American troops, which included several New Mexico-based units. Thousands of American soldiers died on the subsequent forced 65-mile march to prison camps or later in the camps.

Leyba and de Herrera received Commander's Coins from 93rd Brigade Commander Juan Griego at the Taos event.

One speaker, retired Sgt. Francis Cordova said that while many veterans are not honored until after they die, he did not want that to happen to Leyba and de Herrera.

The Vietnam Veterans Color Guard led the procession into the village plaza followed by veterans, tribal council members, families and relatives along with members of a Transportation Company of the New Mexico National Guard. Other officials present included state Sen. Carlos Cisneros, Cordova, Taos Mayor Bobby Duran, Taos Pueblo Gov. Paul T. Martinez and tribal War Chief Luis Romero.

- 25 YEARS AGO - 'Team arrives to ferret out Taos' hum', By Jess Williams, May 27, 1993

Reporter Williams describes in detail the equipment and the researchers that arrived in Llano Quemado this week to try to find the cause of the low-frequency throb that had been bothering some residents for nearly two years.

Williams wrote: "Thousands of feet of coaxial cable snake through the sagebrush near Bob and Catanya Saltzman's mountainside home south of Llano Quemado. At one end of each cable is a microphone or electromagnetic sensor placed on the ground. At at the other end is an old, gutted, yellow Winnebago.

"Inside the Winnebago it's dark, except for the tiny screens of oscilloscopes and the flashing or blinking lights of disk drives and computer processors. These lights reflect in the glasses of scientists, all of whom are hard at work this week trying to figure out just what in the hell is humming in this valley."

The 12-member team of scientists was headed by Joe Mullins, a University of New Mexico mechanical engineer.

The Saltzmans, especially Catanya, told Williams that the sound robbed her of sleep, gives her headaches, balance problems and a rapid heartbeat. She said that if the source could not be located and removed, she would have to leave Taos.

At the time, many theorized that the sound was the result of a federal Defense Department project although to this day, no confirmed cause has ever been identified.

- 50 YEARS AGO - 'The Last Word', An unsigned editorial, May 30, 1968

The author is unknown, but it is clear how she or he feels about hippies, the youth movement of the 1960s that valued peace, love and all things natural. Taos attracted quite a few of these folks, who moved here to get away from the crowded concrete of America's big cities, including San Francisco, where the movement began. They came to join communes, to live off the land, to get in touch with their spirituality and to hang out. Here's what The Taos News had to say about them, perhaps reflecting the feelings of many Taoseños at the time:

"One more idea must needs be put across on the subject of hippies:

"Hippies are thin creatures, and the winds of change they court will surely sweep from away. They are hollow creatures, and their outward manifestations smell--and they know it.

"San Francisco's original 'hippies' already have pronounced the death of hippiedom. They soon will leave Taos, or will be changed by Taos, and there will be no more hippies...

"And that, let us pray, is the last of the subject."

But it's not. Many of those hippies stayed. They started successful businesses, raised families and grew some gray hair. Some even still wear it long.