The following events took place in 1963.
Jan 2 – Viet Cong downed 5 U.S. helicopters, killing 30 U.S. soldiers.
Jan 11 – The first discotheque, Whiskey-a-go-go, opened in Los Angeles.
Jan 14 – George Wallace was sworn in as Governor of Alabama, vowing “segregation forever.”
Feb 6 – USSR offensive military weapons are no longer in Cuba.
Mar 21 – Alcatraz Prison closed for good, on the orders of Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Mar 31 – Streetcar service in Los Angeles ended after 90 years.
Apr 2 – Martin Luther King initiated the first non-violent civil rights in Birmingham, Alabama.
Apr 8 – At the Academy Awards, Lawrence of Arabia won Best Picture, Anne Bancroft won Best Actress and Gregory Peck won Best Actor.
Apr 10 – The USS Thresher, nuclear submarine, failed to surface 220 miles east of Boston, killing 129 sailors.
Apr 12 – Police used cattle prods and dogs on peaceful demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.
May 8—President John F. Kennedy offered assistance against aggression to Israel.
May 15—Autronaut Gordon Cooper orbited the Earth 22 times aboard Faith 7 and manually piloted the craft to a pinpoint splashdown landing.
May 20 – A cyclone in East Pakistan killed 22,000 people along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
Jun 3 – Pope John XXIII died at age 81, succeeded by Pope Paul VI.
Jun 7 – The Rolling Stones made their first TV appearance.
Jun 11 – Martin Luther King was arrested in Florida while attempting to integrate restaurants.
Jun 11 – Federal troops were employed to force Alabama Governor to allow black students to attend the University of Alabama.
Jun 18 – Some 3,000 blacks boycotted public schools in Boston.
Jun 26 – President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin and uttered the words “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) in a speech.
Jun 28 – ISSR President Nikita Khrushchev visited East Berlin.
Jul 1 – The U.S. Post Office initiated the 5-digit Zip Code.
Jul 26 – An earthquake in Yugoslavia killed over 1,000 people.
Aug 3 – The Beatles made their final appearance at the Cavern Cave in Liverpool, England.
Aug 13 -- Jun 11 – A Buddhist monk burned himself to death on a street in Saigon to protest actions of the South Vietnamese Government.
Aug 18 – James Meredith became the first black to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
Aug 19 – Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, official hostess of the South Vietnamese Government, offered to light the match of the next monk suicide.
Aug 21 – Martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police began a crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
Aug 24 – President John F. Kennedy authorized a military coup against South Vietnam’s President Diem, leading to the assassination of Diem a couple of months later.
Aug 26 – Orders from Washington DC were issued to destroy all cables sent to Saigon, South Vietnam, dating back to August 24.
Aug 28 – Some 250,000 demonstrators gathered in Washington DC, which included Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Sep 2 -- Alabama Governor George Wallace ordered state troopers to prevent Tuskegee High School from being integrated.
Sep 9 – A landslide in Italy killed some 4,000 people.
Sep 10 – President John F. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard to prevent Alabama Governor from blocking public school integration.
Sep 13 – Construction of the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River forming Lake Powell was completed.
Sep 15 – The Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young black girls.
Sep 27 – The population of the USA reached 190 million and the minimum wage was set at $1.25 per hour.
Oct 4 – A hurricane killed some 8,000 people in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.
Oct 6 – The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the New York Yankees, four games to zero, to win the baseball World Series.
Oct 10 – A dam burst in Italy killing an estimated 2,000 people.
Nov 14 – A volcano formed a new island five miles south of Iceland.
Nov 22 – President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Nov 22 – Mob boss Carlos Marcello of New Orleans was acquitted of criminal charges.
Nov 24 – Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy.
Nov 28 – The Crusher beat Verne Gagne to become the NWA professional heavyweight wrestling champion.
Nov 29 – President Lyndon Johnson appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to form a commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Dec 9 – Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped whereupon Frank Sinatra, Sr. paid a $240,000 ransom for his safe release.
Dec 12 – Kenya gained independence from Britain.
Dec 31 – The Top Ten Songs of 1963:
1 – Louie Louie by the Kingsmen
2 – She Loves You by the Beatles
3 – I Want To Hold Your Hand by the Beatles
4 – Be My Baby by the Ronettes
5 – I Saw Her Standing There by the Beatles
6 – Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys
7 – Glad All Over by the Dave Clark Five
8 – It’s All Right by the Impressions
9 – Blowin’ In The Wind by Peter Paul and Mary
10 – Please Please Me by the Beatles
In 1963, I was a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, mostly trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
In 2013, I’m still trying to figure it out.
Quote for the Day – “The stories of courage … they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” John F. Kennedy
Bret Burquest is the author of 9 books, including THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY and 11:11 EARTH TIME (available on Amazon). He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and occasionally talks to trees.