1968

July 9, 2007



My only neice just had her 13th birthday. What an important and special time of life. It made me start thinking about when I was 13… in umm, umm 1968!

The sixties was an amazing yet turbulent time in history. And being 13, I was just starting to pay attention to the world around me. Kids slightly older than me were dying in Vietnam and I did not know why. Teenagers across America were involved in politics, having sit-ins, burning bras, enjoying “free love”. I remember thinking it was all so overwhelming for me. But I knew the power of our generation.

Time has proven that the baby boomer teenagers had a huge and long lasting impact on American politics and culture.

My memory of 1968, a freshman in high school, includes an English teacher, Ms. Rutherford (possibly the first Ms. I had ever known). She was the first to encourage the writer in me.

I remember the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, a turning point in the Vietnam War. Lyndon Johnson was president and he announced he would not seek or accept presidential nomination. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, was slain in Memphis. James Earl Ray, indicted in the King murder, was sentenced to 99 years. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot and critically wounded in a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary and died on June 6th. Richard Nixon was voted in as President.

Record of the Year was “Up, Up and Away,” by the 5th Dimension. Album of the Year was (and still is) a favorite: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, by The Beatles. The rock musical Hair opened on Broadway in 1968.

Music was amazing then! I guess every generation thinks that their music is the best, but how does one argue with this list:
The Beatles, “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution”
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
Steppenwolf, “Born to Be Wild”
Archie Bell and the Drells, “Tighten Up”
The Temptations, “I Wish It Would Rain”
Tommy James and the Shondells, “Mony Mony”
Diana Ross and the Supremes, “Love Child”
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along The Watchtower”.

And others like:
“Judy In Disguise” … John Fred & His Playboy Band
“Green Tambourine” … Lemon Pipers
“Love Is Blue” … Paul Mauriat
“Honey” … Bobby Goldsboro
“Mrs. Robinson” … Simon and Garfunkel
“This Guy’s in Love With You” … Herb Alpert
“Grazing in the Grass” … Hugh Masekela
“Hello, I Love You” … The Doors.

Not to mention: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Glen Campbell, Jose Feliciano’s, “Light My Fire” and Dionne Warwick’s, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose”.

Top Movies of 1968
1. The Graduate
2. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
3. Gone With the Wind (reissue)
4. The Valley of the Dolls
5. The Odd Couple
6. Planet of the Apes
7. Rosemary’s Baby
8. The Jungle Book
9. Yours, Mine and Ours
10. The Green Berets
(They just don’t make ’em like they used to!!!)

Yes 1968 was an important year… the year that the successful flight of Apollo 8 made Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders the first people to orbit the moon.

Johnny Cash recorded “Live at Folsom Prison”.

The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Helen Keller died in her Easton, Connecticut home, just 26 days before her 88th birthday.

Valerie Solanas shoots Andy Warhol as he enters his studio, wounding him.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closes above 100 for the first time, closing at 100.38.

Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae Vitae, condemning birth control.

Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’état.

The Prague Spring of political liberalization ends, as 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia.

The Medal of Honor is posthumously awarded to James Anderson, Jr. — he is the first African American U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Police clash with antiwar protesters in Chicago, Illinois outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

The Games of the XIX Olympiad are held in Mexico City, Mexico.

The United States Department of Defense announced that the United States Army and United States Marines would send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy marry on the Greek island of Skorpios.

The White Album is released by The Beatles.

1968, when I was 13. The year itself has helped make me who I am. Peace.