Sunday, August 16, 2009

Forty Years Ago -- 1969

Forty years ago, 1969, was a typical year of bloody global conflicts, corrupt national leaders and other social misfits. The following events took place that year.

Jan 12 – The New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, to win Super Bowl III.

Jan 20 – New U.S. President Richard Nixon made his first inaugural address to the nation. He stated, "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker."

Jan 25 – Peace talks begin in Paris between the USA and North Vietnam.

Feb 8 – The last edition of THE SATURDAY EVENING POST was published. The magazine had begun publication in 1869.

Feb 9 – The Boeing 747 made its 1st commercial flight.

Feb 18 – The PLO machine-gunned an Israeli airplane in Switzerland.

Feb 25 – Navy Lt. Bob Kerry, age 25, took part in a SEAL raid of a village in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Of the 20 villagers killed, all were women, children and old men. Kerry received a Bronze Star for the raid. He later strongly regretted his actions. He went on to become governor of Nebraska and a U.S. Senator.

Feb 28 – In a Los Angeles court, Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert Kennedy, requested to be executed.

Mar 1 – Mickey Mantle retired from baseball.

Mar 3 – Sirhan Sirhan testified in court that he killed Robert Kennedy.

Mar 10 – James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to murdering Martin Luther King in Memphis. He later recanted his plea, claiming his lawyer persuaded him to do it even though he was innocent.

Mar 12 – Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were married in London.

Mar 15 – A border dispute between Russia and China resulted in several hundred deaths.

Mar 18 – President Nixon authorized Operation Menu – a "secret" bombing campaign in Cambodia.

Mar 20 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in Gibraltar.

Mar 28 – The 34th President of the USA, Dwight Eisenhower, died at age 78.

Apr 14 – A tornado killed 660 in Pakistan.

Apr 17 – A jury in Los Angeles found Sirhan Sirhan guilty in the murder of Robert Kennedy.

Apr 23 – Sirhan Sirhan was sentenced to death for assassinating Robert Kennedy. The sentence was later reduced to life.

Apr 24 – President Nixon orders U.S. troops to secretly invade regions of Cambodia, thought to be a stronghold of the Viet Cong.

Apr 30 – Congress and the press learn of the secret invasion of Cambodia by U.S. troops. Military strength is at an all-time peak in Vietnam, with 550,000 troops, 33,000 have been killed so far.

May 10 – The Battle of Hamburger Hill begins in Vietnam. It will last 11 days. U.S. casualties will be 46 killed and 400 wounded. The North Vietnamese Army will suffer 633 soldiers killed. Ironically, shortly after the battle, U.S. forces abandoned all the ground they had gained and pulled out, setting off a flurry of protests back home.

May 11 – The comedy troupe called Monty Python was formed.

May 13 – Deadly race riots took place in Malaysia.

May 23 – The Who released their rock opera album titled TOMMY.

May 25 – The movie MIDNIGHT COWBOY was released. It is the only film with an "X" rating to ever win an Oscar.

May 27 – Walt Disney World began construction in Orlando.

May 31 -- John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded GIVE PEACE A CHANCE in Montreal.

Jun 3 – The last episode of STAR TREK aired on TV.

Jun 8 – President Nixon met with the President of South Vietnam to inform him that U.S. troop levels were going to be reduced. During a press conference, Nixon called it a policy of "Vietnamization" where South Vietnam would eventually be responsible for their own defense.

Jun 9 – Warren Burger replaced Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Jun 22 – The Cuyahoga River, which was highly polluted, caught fire in Cleveland.

Jun 28 – Eight police officers raided a gay bar in New York City because it had refused to pay an increase in bribery. Some 1,000 patrons clashed with police for 3 days. This incident was considered the birth of the gay rights movement.

Jul 4 – The Zodiac Killer murdered a waitress in Vallejo, California. Her boyfriend survived the attack. Less than an hour later, the Zodiac Killer reported the crime from a pay phone.

Jul 16 – Apollo 11 was launched from Cape Canaveral with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin on board, headed for the moon.

Jul 18 – Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha's Vineyard. His passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, died.

Jul 20 – Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped out of the landing module and onto the moon while stating, "One small step for man, one giant step for mankind."

Jul 25 – Senator Edward Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident as a result of the Chappaquiddick incident.

Jul 31 – The Zodiac Killer sent a letter and a cipher to three newspapers in the Bay area taking credit for the July 4 murders.

Aug 2 – Bob Dylan made a surprise visit to his high school 10-year reunion in Hibbing, Minnesota.

Aug 8 – Actress Sharon Tate and three guests were brutally murdered in her Beverly Hills Home by followers of Charles Mansion.

Aug 10 – Leno and Rosemary LaBianca were brutally murdered in their Los Angeles home by followers of Charles Mansion.

Aug 15 – In upstate New York, 400,000 people gathered at Max Yasgur's dairy farm for a music festival. It was called Woodstock and featured Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat and Ravi Shankar.

Aug 17 – Hurricane Camille slammed into Louisiana and Mississippi along the Gulf Coast, killing 256 people.

Aug 31 – Former heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano died in a small airplane crash in Iowa.

Sep 2 – The first Internet message was sent & received from BBN Corp to UCLA.

Sep 2 – North Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh died.

Sep 4 – Governor Ronald Reagan of California signed the first no-fault divorce package into law.

Sep 22 – Willie Mays becomes the 2nd man in baseball to hit 600 home runs.

Sep 24 – The Trial of the Chicago 8 began. Defendants included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Tom Hayden. They were charged with crossing state lines to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Sep 26 – The Beatles released the album ABBY ROAD which immediately went to number one on the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks.

Sep 27 – The Zodiac Killer stabbed two teenager lovers repeatedly at Lake Berryessa, killing the girl.

Oct 2 – Robert Redford purchased 6,000 acres in Provo Canyon, Utah, to develop a community devoted to art and nature.

Oct 11 – The Zodiac Killer shot and killed a SF taxi cab driver, his last known murder.

Oct 13 – President Nixon ordered a "secret" worldwide nuclear alert in an attempt to scare the USSR into forcing concessions from North Vietnam at the peace negotiations in Paris. It didn't work.

Oct 16 – The New York Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles to win the World Series.

Oct 21 – Jack Kerouac, author & king of the Beat Generation, died of alcoholism at age 47.

Nov 9 – A group of 80 Native American Indians occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, formerly a federal prison. They offered $24 in beads and cloth to buy the island, listing reasons why the island was suitable as an Indian reservation.

Nov 10 – The San Francisco Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac Killer containing detailed plans to blow up a school bus full of children.

Nov 12 – Free-lance reporter Seymour Hersh broke the story of the My Lai Massacre where over a hundred women, children and old men were forced into a ditch in a village in Vietnam and shot to death by a company of U.S. soldiers led by Lt. William Calley.

Nov 15 – Over 250,000 protesters marched on Washington DC against the Vietnam War.

Nov 19 – Apollo 12 astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean landed on the moon.

Nov 26 – President Nixon announced a lottery for Selective Service draftees, based on date of birth.

Dec 6 – The Rolling Stones held an outdoor rock concert in Livermore, California. They hired the Hells Angels for security whereupon the Angels beat several fans, including one person who was stomped & stabbed to death during the show.

Dec 11 – Sieko marketed the first quartz watch.

Dec 14 – The Jackson Five appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Michael Jackson was 11 years old.

Dec 17 – The U.S. Air Force officially closed PROJECT BLUE BOOK by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial activity behind thousands of UFO sightings. We can all rest easy now knowing we are alone in the universe and beyond.

Dec 20 – A recession began in the USA that would last for 11 months.

Dec 28 – Mario Puzo wrote the novel THE GODFATHER.

Dec 30 – Officials at Yellowstone Park attempted to force grizzly bears to return to a wild diet. Unable to quit junk food, 220 bears were shot and killed.

Dec 31 – During the course of President Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia, the U.S. Air Force dropped 539,129 tons of bombs on Cambodia, killing an estimated 700,000 people, causing a collapse of the agricultural system, which led to a famine and the rise of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime.

The number one song in 1969 was AQUARIUS – LET THE SUN SHINE IN performed by the 5th Dimension.

When the moon is in the seventh house...
And Jupiter aligns with Mars...
Then peace will guide the planets...
And love will steer the stars...
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius...
The Age of Aquarius...

Officially, the Age of Aquarius starts on December 21, 2012.

I can hardly wait.

Quote for the Day – "People react to fear, not love." Richard Nixon

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and patiently waits for the Age of Aquarius to commence. His blogs appear on several websites, including

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