Happy 50th Anniversary 1968
“The modern era of American politics—defined by polarization and nonstop intensity—began with the cataclysmic events of 1968,” writes Daniel Henninger in the WSJ. “Nineteen sixty-eight was one of the greatest anni horribiles ever to happen inside the U.S., producing war, assassinations and riots.”
- January 23, The USS Pueblo and its 82 survivors are captured and taken hostage by North Korea.
- January 30, North Vietnam launches the notorious Tet Offensive, including an invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.
- March 12, Minnesota’s Democratic Sen. Eugene McCarthy comes within a few hundred votes in the New Hampshire primary of upsetting President Lyndon B. Johnson. Within three weeks, Johnson announces he will not seek his party’s presidential nomination.
- April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. Urban riots break out across the U.S.
- April 23: Students occupy offices at Columbia University until police storm the building a week later.
- June 3: Andy Warhol is shot in New York by Valerie Solanas, author of the SCUM Manifesto, or “Society for Cutting Up Men.”
- June 5, while running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated at a Los Angeles hotel.
- August 8, Republicans nominate Richard Nixon.
- August 10, Richard and Deborah marry, St. Mary’s Church, Newport, RI.
- Two weeks later, the Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia.
- In late summer during the Democratic Convention in Chicago, police fight a pitched battle with antiwar protesters in Grant Park.
- In October, at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise gloved fists as a black-power salute during a medal ceremony.
- November 5, Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey and a third-party populist, former and future Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who in the spirit of the times told a group of antiwar protesters: “I was killing fascists when you punks were in diapers.”
Throw on top this mix:
- Vietnam–the “living room war”
- Pot and the Pill
- Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Stones, “Jumping Jack Flash;” James Brown, “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud;” Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild;” The Beatles, “Hey Jude;” Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay;” Janis Joplin “Piece of My Heart” Simon and Garfunkel, “Scarborough Fair.”
Three gentlemen graduated in 1968, notes DH: Bill Clinton (Georgetown), George W. Bush (Yale) and Donald J. Trump (Penn).
The last major happening in 1968 was Apollo 8 orbiting the moon 10 times on December 24. Astronaut Jim Lovell announced to earth, “Houston, please be informed, there is a Santa Claus.”
“The music, mayhem and merriment were inseparable. It was a year in which the idea of inhibition died. It hasn’t returned and likely never will,” writes Daniel Henninger.
Read more here.