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Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:07 PM

1968 (Your Help, Please!)

“Arguably the most historic year of modern times, 1968 was full of tragedy.” -- CNN


Episode 8 of CNN’s series about “The Sixties” airs tonight at 9 pm/est. (The program replays later tonight.) The earlier episodes have been, in my opinion, of a quality well worth watching. They have covered issues including the Cuban Missile Crises, Civil Rights movement, JFK’s murder, the Beatles, and the space race. Tonight’s program focuses on 1968.

The Tet Offensive; McCarthy’s New Hampshire upset; LBJ steps aside (kind of); King is killed; RFK is killed; the Democratic National Convention; Nixon; the White Album; and much, much more.

If you weren’t alive back then, watching tonight’s documentary may help put 1968 into perspective. It was, quite literally, a revolutionary year in American history. There was something close to a civil war, though there were more than two sides fighting.

If you were around back then, I would also recommend watching it. I do not tend to watch CNN much, myself, but I have enjoyed this series. I suspect that you will like tonight’s episode!

Now, if possible, I’d like your help, to make this both an entertaining and worthwhile thread. If you experienced 1968, what events stick out in your mind? And why?

If you weren’t alive back then, what are your impressions of that year, based upon what you have learned about it? Also, do you have any questions about 1968 -- and what made it so special -- that you might pose to D.U.’s elders?

Thank you for your consideration, and hopefully, participation. And enjoy the show!

Your friend,
H2O Man

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Reply 1968 (Your Help, Please!) (Original post)
H2O Man Jul 2014 OP
kentuck Jul 2014 #1
H2O Man Jul 2014 #6
kentuck Jul 2014 #41
Laura PourMeADrink Jul 2014 #55
kentuck Jul 2014 #75
Laura PourMeADrink Jul 2014 #78
LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply "
H2O Man Jul 2014 #82
kentuck Jul 2014 #85
blueamy66 Aug 2014 #180
sabrina 1 Jul 2014 #106
ancianita Aug 2014 #125
panader0 Aug 2014 #188
RoverSuswade Jul 2014 #61
Laura PourMeADrink Jul 2014 #68
KT2000 Jul 2014 #72
SoCalDem Jul 2014 #90
blueamy66 Aug 2014 #177
Mike Nelson Aug 2014 #184
minivan2 Jul 2014 #111
kentuck Aug 2014 #113
Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2014 #2
H2O Man Jul 2014 #10
KoKo Jul 2014 #27
mike_c Jul 2014 #33
ieoeja Aug 2014 #195
Tierra_y_Libertad Aug 2014 #197
ieoeja Aug 2014 #199
H2O Man Aug 2014 #200
safeinOhio Jul 2014 #3
H2O Man Jul 2014 #13
safeinOhio Jul 2014 #19
villager Jul 2014 #4
H2O Man Jul 2014 #14
LongTomH Jul 2014 #5
Jenoch Jul 2014 #11
SummerSnow Jul 2014 #17
Art_from_Ark Jul 2014 #39
Loudly Jul 2014 #7
amandabeech Jul 2014 #34
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2014 #52
Blue_In_AK Aug 2014 #135
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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:09 PM

1. I watched all of 1968 from abroad...

...in Vietnam.

I still feel like I have missed a large part of our history..

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Response to kentuck (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:18 PM

6. Interesting.

How did you feel about US involvement in Vietnam, both before you went, and after you were there? I ask because I have several good friends who signed up for military service, but found that the war wasn't what they expected, once they got there.

(One friend signed up post-68, but partly in response to domestic events. By chance, he would venture to the big concert known as Woodstock, days before heading to Vietnam. He said that the concert's atmosphere started a major shift in his thinking.)

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:09 PM

41. Woodstock happened after I returned home in April '69...

Last edited Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:04 PM - Edit history (2)

...and was waiting to get out of the Army that October.

Myself and a lot of friends went thru a lot of changes while in Vietnam. I had no questions about the war when I went in - my country called and I went.

However, I became very anti-war once I was in country. For the first time in my life, I smoked marijuana. I smoked a lot of marijuana. I studied Buddhism. I read Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha". I wore a small jade Buddha around my neck with gold holdings. I let my hair grow out. I was an unkempt soldier. I was invited to Tet dinner by a Vietnamese family, which I went. I was lucky to get out of the country alive and with a good discharge. In my three years, I changed rank nine times - from E-1 to E-2 to E-5 - to PFC to Spc4 to PFC to PVT E-1 to PVT E-2 to PFC E-3 in my three years.

I remember how a couple of "white" GI's got beat up pretty good when we got the news that MLK Jr. had been assassinated. Many whites were afraid to be out alone. I knew nothing of Eugene McCarthy, only what I read after my return and later in life. I did not know that so many young people were protesting for us back here in the States.

After my first tour was over in Sept '68, I got orders to go to Fort Lee, VA but I did not want to re-acclimate myself to the Army life again so I volunteered to go back for another tour. However, I kept my old orders for Fort Lee to show my family where I was headed when I went home on a drugged and drunken leave. They never knew that I was going back to VIetnam until I was back in the country, probably with the longest hair of any GI in Vietnam. That was a big deal in '68. I was forced to get it cut.

Ironically, when I was escorted out of the country, literally, I was sent to Fort Lee, VA to finish up my last few months in the military. I had few duties except to march in a few parades for the generals and big shots and keep the barracks clean. I do remember leaving behind in Vietnam a large poster for my friends, with "WAR?" painted on it, in blood red, and with song titles and quotes from the White Album...

For several years, it was a difficult time trying to adapt to "real" life again. I hitchhiked around the country as a way to gather myself and try to get back on the right track. Everything was so boring.


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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:59 PM

55. were you drafted? When did you go in? Your name implies

you lived in Kentucky? I am just so curious Kentuck - I was in college in PA and all the guys were hoping for high draft numbers. Those who got low ones joined the national guard.

I want to hear more about your state of mind when you went in.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #55)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:31 PM

75. Yes, I lived in Kentucky.

But I was working in Detroit, MI when I got my draft notice. That was the summer of '66. I had just turned 19. I went thru basic at Fort Campbell, KY.

There were no lottery numbers at that time. There was college or there were little tricks, like lye soap under the armpit or such, that could get you out of serving. Or pull a Ted Nugent-like trick.

I never questioned serving. My uncles had served in the Korean War - one had won the Silver Star. In the mountains, when your country called, you went.

There was a sense of inevitability that I was going to Vietnam. Some little voice in the back of my mind told me that I would get to see the South China Sea.

As I was flying into Fort Lewis, Washington, on my way to Vietnam, my parents were in the process of getting a divorce. So I remember thinking of that a lot.

When I was drafted, I was fairly innocent and naive, to be honest.

Although I was an excellent student, I was very poor and still living in the hollow when my teachers took me down to Union College to check it out in my senior year of high school. But I did not want to go to college without any money and no job, so I went to Detroit to work and make a little money. That is when I got my draft notice.

I came back to my home in the hollow for a few weeks before I had to go to Fort Campbell for basic training. I recall that I put my changing of clothes in a paper sack and walked out of the hollow in the dark to get to the station on time for the bus.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #75)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:38 PM

78. I hear you totally - and I love you. nt

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #78)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:42 PM

82. "

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #78)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:45 PM

85. Thank you, Laura.

I appreciate your thoughts.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #78)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:11 AM

180. Me too.

 

nt

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Response to kentuck (Reply #75)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:32 PM

106. Those are fascinating posts, kentuck. The last paragraph made me feel very sad. To be alone,

in the dark going to catch a bus to go to a military base, it just conjured up a very sad image for me and I wanted to be there, to give you a hug as you got on the bus. Maybe you didn't mind, but that is how it struck me, sad.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #75)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:36 AM

125. I had a similar experience of spending the night on a Georgia road to Warner Robins AFB to pick up

my husband from basic training. No cell phones or GPS. The days of Vietnam were dark ones for so many of us. Thank you for your story.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #75)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:48 AM

188. What a story--here's to you kentuck!

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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:10 PM

61. My music store sold tickets to Woodstock.

I remember we had to send back the unsold tickets with the money for the sold ones. I wish I'd kept them for souvenirs!

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Response to RoverSuswade (Reply #61)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:16 PM

68. my bil's dad found a Woodstock poster in the garbage and made $15k nt

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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:25 PM

72. Wow! What a post!

Thank you for that. Your last paragraph says so much and it answered some questions for me.
I met Vets who were on the road as they often gravitated to the "hippie" events and locations in Seattle. Some say there was anger and animosity between Vets and so-called hippies but that is not what I saw. The easy MJ and unstructured lifestyles were likely a good place to land for a while. The vets did not mix and were generally guarded but they were always invited to share - and they did - as that was the big thing back then.

As I look back now, the whole hippie thing must have appeared kind of obnoxious to someone returning from war. I don't know.

Conservatives now want to sum up the time in simplicity but it was far from it. My cousin and brother-in-law each did two tours over there about that time. My brother was to luck out when the lottery went into effect. My boyfriend after high school was a returning vet who joined Viet Nam Vets Against the War. It was hard for him to adjust but I was too young to be much help.

Those were the days, huh?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:54 PM

90. I was a freshman at the Univ. Of Kansas

and sadly, my only act of "revolt" was wearing moccasins & jeans to class.. "The 60's" did not really reach my neck of the woods until about 1971, and I was married & living in Indiana by then

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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:06 AM

177. Better than TV

 

Thank you for posting this.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #41)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:21 AM

184. Thank you for sharing these memories, kenuck...

...better than the CNN show.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:55 PM

111. Thank you for your service

From what I saw in my history class, that war looked like a nightmare. For you to serve in it was very brave and powerful and I again thank you.

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Response to minivan2 (Reply #111)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:03 AM

113. Not to minimize your sincere comments..

But I am one of those that never expected or looked for any thanks for serving. I think we should save our thanks for those that gave their limbs or lives. Personally, I have never felt comfortable receiving thanks for my time over there.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:13 PM

2. What sticks out? The betrayal by the Democratic Party of the anti-war movement.

 

My first presidential vote and I voted 3rd Party (Peace and Freedom) as a Democrat.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:24 PM

10. Thank you.

In my opinion, the party's betrayal the anti-war movement made Nixon president. HHH didn't dare to separate himself from LBJ's policies, until about 9 days before the election. That was when he began to climb in the polls. Many believe that he was within 36 to 48 hours of passing Nixon.

I like Eugene McCarthy then, and still admire what he did. Yet I favored RFK. His death seemed like the end of something far greater than one human being. It still haunts me.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:59 PM

27. yes. n/t

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:25 PM

33. agreed....

Damn, I'd almost managed to forget about that.

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:27 PM

195. Betrayl of the anti-war movement by "The War Party"?!?

 


In 1968 Republicans were still referring to our party as The War Party because Democrats had started every war ever fought by this country. How could you possibly feel betrayed by the party that was always pro-war?

Worst thing that ever happened to this country's foreign policy was the Republican takeover of it. Conservatives suck at war. If you want to win a war, you need leaders who can adjust. Not leaders whose primary purpose is to conserve traditions.

Of course, there were some anti-war Democrats. And, yes, most Democrats did support the rights of the anti-war movement. However, too many people, especially on the Right, mistake supporting somebody's right to speech as agreement with that somebody.


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Response to ieoeja (Reply #195)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:31 PM

197. The Democrats at the convention went for Humpty rather than McCarthy.

 

The supported Johnson's "tough on Communism" PR war to the cost of millions of lives.

What do you call it? Good Government?

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #197)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:37 PM

199. I call that "expected" from a party mocked as "The War Party".

 


I call that "normal" for the party that started the Cold War.

I call that "typical" for the party that got us in both Korea and Vietnam.

What I don't call it is betrayal any more than I would call the attacks by Al Qaeda on 9/11 a betrayal. The word "betrayal" does not make sense in this context.


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Response to ieoeja (Reply #199)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:41 PM

200. The party that

got us into Vietnam occupied the White House from 1953 to '60.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:14 PM

3. Biggest event….

dropped acid and everything changed.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:28 PM

13. I've heard that

enhanced many people's enjoyment of the "White Album."

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:36 PM

19. That too. n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:16 PM

4. The assassinations: Bearing the news of one, waking up to the other

 

1) I told my mom about ML King's assassination. Teletyped bulletins were crawling across the bottom of the screen while my sisters watched the Flintsones (I think) in the afternoon. "Who is Martin Luther King?," I asked, going into her bedroom where she napped.

I'd heard of him, but wasn't sure. She told me. Then I said "well, he's been shot." I still remember how my mom bolted up in bed after that.


2) Being political at an early age, and growing up in a Kennedy-supporting family, I was hoping for an RFK win in the California primary. My dad came in to my room in the morning, holding up the SF Chronicle with the headline about RFK's assassination (he may not have technically been dead, by the the time the paper went to press...)


Nothing, really, has worked right, or well, in this country, since then. The wrong guys won. And they were willing to kill to do it.

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Response to villager (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:30 PM

14. Well said.

MLK and RFK offered this nation a way out of the insanity that was tearing the country apart at its seams.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:16 PM

5. Apollo 8 - Our first look at the Earth above another world

Apollo 8 was launched December 21, 1968. It's remembered mostly for the Earthrise picture taken by Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders, and for the first Christmas greeting from space.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:25 PM

11. I was quite young in 1968.

 

I had seen Planet of the Apes that summer. When Apollo 8 was in the news I thought they were saying Apollo Ape.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:34 PM

17. I've always admired that photo.Earth looks so peaceful from space.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:50 PM

39. I remember that Christmas (Eve) greeting

It was a kind of soothing finale to a very turbulent year.

I don't remember King's assassination, but I certainly remember RFK being shot, just after summer vacation started. I remember hearing about the Tet Offensive on TV, but not really understanding what it was all about. I remember the nightly news reports about US and VC/NVA casualties, and hearing my friend talk about his brother being shot down, but rescued by friendly forces. And I remember not being able to watch Laugh-In because my mother was afraid that we kids were going to repeat Laugh-In stock phrases (like "Very interesting" and "You bet your bippy" in front of her very conservative parents.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:21 PM

7. Beatles White Album?

 

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Response to Loudly (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:36 PM

34. CNN has been emphasizing the music in this series.

 

Frankly, though, I hope that CNN doesn't spend too much time on it.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:55 PM

52. Yeah,....because us long haired hippie types were responsible for this...

 

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #52)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:12 AM

135. I take no responsibility for him...

That was 1969 anyway. The first time I saw him on TV, I was tripping hard. Talk about a serious downer...

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #135)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:27 AM

137. In '69 I was tripping on the moon.

 

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Response to Spitfire of ATJ (Reply #137)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:33 AM

138. Definitely better than ol' Charlie.

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #138)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:07 PM

211. With that...

 

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Response to Loudly (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:49 AM

118. My favorite albums from 1968...

Not only the White Album, but Hendrix, with Hey Joe, the Doors, Hello I Love You, Canned Heat, Fried Hockey Boogie, Jefferson Airplane, Crown of Creation, Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends, Big Brother and the Holding Company...and a few others. Music was very important in Vietnam.

Just as you were either a "short-timer" or a "lifer", you were either a "doper" or a "juicer". Some GI's had an intense dislike for "lifers" and, sometimes, would draw outlines of their least-favorite "lifers" on pieces of plywood and throw knives at it. They didn't care a whole lot for "juicers" either.

The "dopers" would usually congregate in the corner of their hootch or tent and turn on the music real low, so as not to antagonize the 90-95% that were not into it. They smoked "numbers" - not "squares". In-A-Gadda-da-Vida was like the national anthem...

(edited: changed "many" to "some".)

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Response to kentuck (Reply #118)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:07 AM

149. All of my friends

who served in Vietnam say that same thing -- the music was important to them. It helped them stay sane, while existing in insane circumstances. And created a bridge to the society that they had left.

My four siblings -- all older -- had wider tastes in music than me. I tended to listen to Jimi, the Doors, and The Beatles. In 1967, the four Beatles had transformed. The days of "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" had morphed into Strawberry Fields and Sgt. Peppers. Then the White Album came out, and seemed even more of a step forward .....

I've never left North America. But some of that music -- for example, I remember my college friends and I were amazed at "Revolution 9" while chemically-enhanced -- defined the confusion we felt at the time. For example, when Nixon had been elected in November, my siblings and I were horrified (though we had come to despise LBJ). I remember my father saying, "You might not like him, but you have to respect the position he has been elected to." But that would not hold true for us -- we came to view the Office of the President as so corrupt, that it deserved contempt.

Reading this thread has gotten me thinking about how the huge shift in "respect for authority" came to separate my father's generation from our's .... and how that would influence the generations that have followed .....

I'm not confident that I'm making sense now. (grin) But this will stick with me today ....

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #149)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:20 PM

221. For some adults, my parents for example, Kent State and Watergate were the unravelling of their

faith in the system. Their college-age and high-school-age children had been raving about the war, crazy Nixon and his henchmen, etc, but they dismissed us. Once students were murdered and Watergate corruption was revealed, it was game over.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #118)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:10 AM

179. what's a juicer ? someone who drinks alcohol ? nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:22 PM

8. Memories of that year which stand out in my memory.....

.....the assassination of King, and my throat clinching dismay when a close relative rejoiced in King's "comeuppance"....... the horror of RFK's murder....the misery of so many over civil rights and the Viet Nam war (in 1966 I had been supportive of the war, but by 1968 I was totally disillusioned of the whole effort, and the inability to get out of it, all the while having to keep my opinions to myself because of family reasons)....the dysfunctional Democratic convention....these were all the background of a very unhappy period of my personal life....

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:38 PM

20. My mother's baby brother

was killed in Vietnam in 1966. He was 19. She never got over it. I remember her crying over him many years. She would sit and look at his picture and read letters he sent her when he was in Vietnam.He expressed in his letters how he didn't want to be there and how badly he missed home.That stands out in my memory.

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Response to SummerSnow (Reply #20)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:36 PM

35. I'm sorry for your family's loss. n/t

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:22 PM

9. I was at the Democratic convention.

It was pretty insane and in retrospect I'm surprised no one was killed.

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Response to Mz Pip (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:35 PM

18. I was in command of an Army riot control squad that was on alert to go there

Luckily, they ended up not sending us. We had absolutely no training for civil protests (we'd been trained only for Vietnam combat).

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Response to Mz Pip (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:46 PM

23. I was there too, and indeed the fact that none of us were killed remains suprising.

 

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Response to Mz Pip (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:13 PM

30. I was inducted into the Air Force in Chicago during the convention.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:25 PM

12. student riots at columbia


had friends who were students there at the time. remember them coming down to my apartment and hiding out for a while.

also remember watching the demonstrations at the democratic convention on tv and being really pissed at what it was doing to the way america saw us. it doomed humphrey.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:30 PM

15. MC5 - Speedway Meadows

 

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #15)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:16 PM

42. I remember the Motor City 5.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #42)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:56 AM

172. They played in Golden Gate Park SM a lot back then when I was there.

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:32 PM

16. I will be watching

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:41 PM

21. The good guys kept dying at the hands of "lone gunmen". I smelled a putrid, stinking rat.

 

I was 19.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:44 PM

22. tet, king, riots, lbj, rfk, chicago, riots,

 

By the fall of 68 I had decided that nothing at all mattered other than causing so much havoc here in the US that the war in Vietnam would become untenable. I was 17. The next eight years of my life were a detour based on that decision. I do not regret that at all, it was the right thing to do.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:53 PM

24. I was being mentored by Pirkle Jones that year

The happenings in the Black Panther Party captured most of my attention because it was very local, and by extension, very personal. Would have, Could have, Should have been...


Doing up some killer ribs and reflecting on stuff with Bobby (The BPP is dead) Seale is on my bucket list.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:54 PM

25. When I think of it, I get dizzy and nauseous.

 

I turned 13 that summer, but my friends all made fun of me because I watched the news and read the newspaper every day. We got quizzes from the newspaper in school every week. I didn't bother to study, because I knew all the answers. My friends memorized the answers (a, d, c, etc.) from the paper, but when the teacher mixed up the collection, everyone in the class failed but me. I also read Time, Newsweek and US Snooze and World Report every week, but a week late because my parents got them from my uncle.

For me, 1968 really started in the summer of 1967 with the Detroit riots. I'm from a small town in Michigan, but every city in that state with a black population rioted that week. That Sunday evening, I watched a line of thunderstorms come in off Lake Michigan cutting the lower peninsula in two--the north with no cities and no riots, and the south, being burned. At 9:00, the Smothers Brothers came on, much to my parents' chagrin. They let me watch sometimes, but ignored the TV until we started getting emergency bulletins directing all national guard troops and state police officers to report to their posts immediately. They kept coming every five minutes, and parents started to get nervous. We normally went to bed at ten, but we all stayed up for the 11:00 news because obviously something bad was happening. At 11, our northern Michigan station showed some rioting, and that was all that was on all week during the news. It looked really bad. The Dad of one of my friends was a state trooper and got called down. I got a very santized version from her, but that was bad enough. We did our back-to-school shopping in the small city 40 miles to the south, but that city saw very bad rioting that went on for 3 weeks at least. The shopping area was completely closed off. Finally, two weeks before school, the local police opened up an area in the southern outskirts with a JC Penney and a Meijers (local Wal-Mart-Target-ish thing) just so kids and parents could get clothing and supplies. I can't imagine what it must have been like to be in the riot-torn area. I just can't.

I remember that the war just kept going like it would never end. I remember looking up the population of Vietnam in the World Book Encyclopedia that we had a home, and judging that by Gen. Westmoreland's body count numbers, we'd killed just about every military aged male in Vietnam. Then I put up an LBJ dartboard in my school locker. Then the assassination of Dr. King with more riots, waking up to a dead RFK, more war. It just never stopped.

For me, though, it was the '68 Democratic Convention. I had an aunt and uncle in the Chicago area who LOVED Mayor Daly. That's Hizzoner, the First Mayor Daly. I watched that convention all the time, and my parents let me stay up late again. The baby blue helmets, the kids, only a couple years older than me, getting heads bashed in in the parks that I had visited during many summer trips. The mules in downtown Chicago, and my aunt calling and crowing about how wonderful Mayor Daly was. I thought that she had lost her mind.

Then the police rioted on the floor of the convention! They were breaking the heads of the delegates! The delegates! And there was Mayor Daly egging them on. It was so wild that I can't remember who it was who kissed the TV screen showing some sort of riot, maybe Daly, maybe HHH.

I was so burned out after that. I couldn't even feel the horror of Nixon getting elected in November. I was just numb. Just numb. I loved my aunt and uncle, but it took time before I could look at them and not see Mayor Daly's screaming face.

During the time of the 2008 election, I had a Turkish roommate. She was terrified with the raucous election. She asked me if the country was going to fall apart and civil war break out. I told her that 2008 was nothing compared to 1968, and related a bit about that. She was dumbfounded that we'd survived. I told her not to worry until there were deadly fights on the floor of Congress and aggrieved citizens had broken into the armories and stolen military equipment. Frankly, those were about the only things that didn't happen in 1968. And I hope that they don't happen anytime soon, either.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #25)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:47 AM

156. Like your post,...

 



...and I agree the DemCon in Chicago was the flash point of the time, but I don't think the rioting police made it to the convention floor. That was a major 'point of order'. The delegates appeared to be blissfully unaware of what was going on in the streets or at least making the point of the protesters that the government didn't care about the people.




.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #156)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:17 AM

163. There was

physical violence on the floor -- Dan Rather was pushed around, etc. But nothing like what was going on outside.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #156)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:20 PM

208. Thank you. It was cathartic writing it.

 

I was just a confused, distraught 13-year-old, and you are probably right.

As other posters who were there wrote in this thread, it is amazing that no one was killed. I find that hard to believe, too.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:58 PM

26. i can feel the gut punches of losing bobby kennedy & martin luther king like it was yesterday.

thanks for pointing out that episode....k&r...

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Response to spanone (Reply #26)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:01 PM

56. how did you know about it? I vividly remember my mom waking me

and my sister up to tell us about Bobby

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #56)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:12 PM

99. well, i was 17 yrs old and living it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:01 PM

28. The Convention.

I was in Chicago, and having worked (in a small legal services office) at the Cook County Jail, I spent a fair amount of time returning to the Jail (same Warden, who I knew) and I helped folks there with numerous needs, like contacting relatives, obtaining medications, etc etc. Generally a life changing event.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:08 PM

29. We are still feeling the political reverberations

From a generation that decided to change the world.
At the time I didn't think that it would take so long. (silly hippy)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:23 PM

31. What Warren Stupidity said in 22, but especially

 

Tet Offensive
I learned from Walter Cronkite that we weren't winning and yes, my government lied to me.
Bobby Kennedy
He was gonna save us all.
I turned eighteen.
Couldn't vote yet.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:25 PM

32. north korea capturing

The USS Pueblo and its crew

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #32)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:38 AM

139. I remember that one, and its more tragic "sister event",

the sinking of the USS Scorpion. The Pueblo's crew were eventually released, but stories of the Scorpion always sent chills down my spine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Scorpion_(SSN-589)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:37 PM

36. My husband of eight months got drafted into the US Army in 1968..

I drove him to the railroad station when he left for induction and I remember being very sad...
A year to the day later I joined him for his last year in the Army at a military base in a Southern State..

We were both a long way from home...

When he finished his time in the military his job he had back in 1968 was no longer available
due to lay-offs....We had to start all over from the beginning..

Sound familiar!!!

Tikki

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Response to Tikki (Reply #36)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:44 PM

47. Sound familiar? Yes:

"Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says 'son if it was up to me'
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said 'son don't you understand now'"

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:39 PM

37. Thanks for the headsup

Rec

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:43 PM

38. The year started off with LSD becoming illegal

and went downhill from there as far as the drug war thing turned out. Lots of sorrow, very painful to this day. The White Album was the only saving grace that at least allowed us to enter the new year with renewed hope.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:51 PM

40. Soviet Union

invading Czechoslovakia to put down reform actions.

Also, I think the Paris Peace talks were in their infancy (Vietnam)

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #40)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:11 AM

120. Yes. We have degrees in European Languages (among other things)

and we spent the summer camping in France. We were in the Munich Campground the day the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia. It was a tragic day. I will never forget it. The campground was full of Czech citizens panicking, trying to decide whether to go back to their country and their friends and families or stay in the West. They had very little time to decide.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #120)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:47 AM

140. I remember watching a news video of Alexander Dupcek

being taken away in some sort of vehicle, as the people in the street chanted something that sounded to me like "Dupcek, open up" (but my mother reminded me that they were probably weren't speaking English).

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:25 PM

43. Mid to late 68

the selective service studied new methods of the draft which resulted in the first, lottery type draft in 1969. My date of birthday came in at # 3 and my initials were low too. I was a goner had I not been in ROTC.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:28 PM

44. 1968 shaped my life

 

I was 16 years old. I knocked on doors in New Hampshire for Eugene McCarthy. I remember the King assassination from TV. I stayed up all night for the final results from California and saw RFK speak, live on TV just before he was shot. I protested the Viet-Nam War. I campaigned for Louis Kirstein in my home town of Revere to defeat the sitting Mayor to earn a delegate spot at the 1968 Convention in Chicago.

I hated LBJ for the War, HHH for supporting LBJ and wish I did more to help HHH defeat Nixon.

I am now a union leader. I still carry signs at 61 years old and fight for people's rights.

1968 defined my life and that's the year I came of age.

In 2008 I knocked on doors in New Hampshire for Obama. I thought, what a difference 40 years makes as I walked to the doors.

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Response to louis c (Reply #44)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:35 PM

77. There should be a national holiday in honor of McCarthy volunteers.

 

And maybe another one for McCarthy himself.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:38 PM

45. A Few Words... MLK, RFK, Tet, Chicago, Nixon...

 


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:42 PM

46. MLK, Jr. assassinated on my eighth birthday,

in my home state. Made a big impression on me and spurred me to join the fight for civil rights as an adult. RFK assassination later that year changed the world in ways we may never know. My how the world would have been different if Nixon had never been elected! Probably would never have seen Ronald Reagan, etc.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:51 PM

48. I had just gotten out of the hospital & convalescent center at Cam Ranh Bay with

half-healed AK wounds in time for Têt. I was on guard duty the night of Tet on an LZ built on a mountain top & could see fireworks going off in 4 little villages in the distance that night. Then, one after the other, the fireworks turned into red & white automatic weapons tracers hitting & ricocheting up into the air (ours were red, theirs white), and other sorts of explosive flashes.

Not too long after, I was on a convoy through the old city of Hue, which had been pretty much blown apart during Têt.

And I remember watching the 1st Cav ammo dump & aviation fuel tanks blowing up one night in March. And I remember the cheers arising from the foxholes & bunkers on the perimeter of Camp Evans, just south of the DMZ (I was on guard duty again) when the news was broadcast of LBJ's withdrawal from the race. (Illicit transistor radios in the guard positions).

I got back to the States in July & was serving out my last 6 months in the 2nd Armored Div. when the Chicago convention happened. At that time I was involved with the antiwar movement within the military & behind the scenes at the Oleo Strut coffee house in Killeen, TX. We were told that we would be deployed to Chicago if the riots went on. (Tanks!. although I was by that time a psych medic & wouldn't have been cruising Chicago in a tank crew or anything.)

As the Spæfrú said to Odin in the Hávamal, "And would you hear yet more?"

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:58 PM

54. We were only a couple of miles apart on that night.

I was in a support unit just a little south of you. The 59th Field Service Unit.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #54)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:38 PM

79. I was at LZ Uplift, just outside of Bong Son.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #79)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:48 PM

88. I was about halfway down the peninsula.

Were you close to So Chin or Phan Rang?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #88)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:15 PM

101. North of Qui Nhon, somewhere near Phu My.

Bong Son seems too small to show on a map; it was on Hy. 1, on a river crossed by both a RR bridge & a highway bridge. As I recall, northbound traffic was routed on one of the bridges, & southbound on the other, with the highway bridge having been 1-lane, and the RR bridge converted to carry the other lane of traffic. I just looked at a map of that stuff for the first time in years & it doesn't look exactly the way I remembered it; but then, I've spent as little time as possible thinking about the whole war experience, so my memory has gotten fuzzy.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Reply #101)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:26 PM

105. I never made it up to Qui Nhon....

I was in Nha Trang , Ba Ngoi, So Chin, Phan Rang, and Cam Ranh, all along the coast. Also, I have looked at maps of Google and nothing looks the same. Sometimes it feels like another lifetime.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:53 PM

49. I was in college.

I voted for the first time. I was surrounded by like minded people (mostly). It was as affective to my beliefs as any year of my life, which will become 65 years in a couple of months.

I was not aware that the following year my brother would leave for Canada and a dear friend would leave for Viet Nam. It was all just building.

I did not think so many years later we would have such ignorance and hatred in our country and our world.

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Response to TNNurse (Reply #49)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:13 PM

66. I remember much of it like it was last year.

I was in college, my fiancé got drafted, and we eloped! A milestone year for us!

The assassinations, the moon landing, and the Dem. convention are probably the events that stand out the most, as most people have already mentioned.

I was devastated by RFK's assassination. I loved him and wanted to see him elected president. I saw him speak at a rally in DC early that year. He was mesmerizing.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:55 PM

50. One of my earliest memories if of RFK's funeral

I wasn't even 4 yet.

I remember it was very hot and I was sitting on the living room floor near a droning floor plan. My mother sat quietly in one chair, my grandmother in an other, watching the scene on TV.

The strongest image I have of what was on TV was the flag-draped casket.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:55 PM

51. Bobby Kennedy's assassination was my low point

He was my last best hope. I kind of threw in the towel. The Dem convention in Chicago was also right down there, as I was living in Chi at the time. What a year. I think the only year that historically compares is 1865. Maybe

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #51)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:04 AM

133. i often wonder how different things would

have been had bobby lived. he would have been elected.

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Response to DesertFlower (Reply #133)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:13 AM

160. Yes, I believe he would have won as well

and Nixon, Cambodia, and Watergate never would have happened, maybe the student movement would have been diffused or re-channeled into something positive. Quien sabe? Watching Nixon in office was a nightmare for me.

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Response to CanonRay (Reply #160)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:32 AM

165. I think he would

have gotten the party's nomination, and would have beat Nixon in a fairly close race. The process was different then -- fewer primaries, and more power in the "back rooms." RFK was winning the support of those fellows in the "smoke-filled back rooms."

HHH was a good man, overall, and a good Senator. But he wasn't a good VP; LBJ crushed his conscience. I remember thinking that he looked too much like Bob Hope, to be taken seriously by much of the public. Now, looking back, that sounds shallow. But it was only the shallows that could place Nixon in the White House.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 09:57 PM

53. The Army commissioned me as an Infantry officer in '68 at the age of 19

Nineteen years old--that part still gets me. I'd done my Basic and Advanced Infantry Training the year before as a draftee, and went on to complete the 6-month Officer Candidate School training at the Infantry School at Ft.Benning, GA. My mom came from CA for my graduation.

The next year I was a 20-year-old Army First Lieutenant leading an Infantry Rifle Platoon in combat in the jungles of Vietnam. My little brother was serving as a personnel specialist at my Division HQ. My mom got a telegram from the Army when I was wounded; my little brother got his telegram in Vietnam.

I'd nearly died, but after initial treatment in VN and a week in ICU in Japan I was medevac'd back to an Army hospital in San Francisco. It was toughest on my mom, who didn't come to visit right away. She was afraid to see me. And her youngest son still had another 9 months to go on his tour. He made it back, but it wasn't until many years later that he told me what mom had said about me in the first years after my return: "Bobby was never so angry before he went to Vietnam."

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #53)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:11 PM

62. I understand how you got there.

Last edited Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:36 PM - Edit history (1)

I was in OCS in Ft Sill, OK, training to be a Forward Observer.

I did not become an officer. I dropped out 3 or 4 weeks before graduation because I had gotten 2nd and 3rd degree burns in the Oklahoma sun and was under a sheet tent for about a week or so and I was told that I would need to repeat a month of training so I could repeat a map-reading class.

I said, "No, thank you."

Capt Santana said, "If you drop out, you will be going to Vietnam."

I was in a holdover company for a couple of weeks and I got my orders for Vietnam. I rationalized that I was not responsible for anybody's life except my own. I lost my rank of E-5 and went to Vietnam as a PFC E-3. But I never regretted not being an officer.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #53)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:46 PM

86. Ft Benning

Me too, you weren't in the 199th Light Infantry by chance were you ?

I was in VN from Nov 67 to May 68. 'joined' the Army on my 17th birthday at the urging of a juvenile court judge unhappy with some joyriding with buddies in HS.

I made it thru the first phase of Tet in Jan/Feb and got my million dollar wounds in May 68 in the 2nd Tet phase. Married my HS sweetheart on hospital convalescent leave 11 days after her 16th birthday before the Army got me killed. After 3 months in Army hospitals I got light duty assignment in Ft Huachuca AZ on the Mexican border. Worked at a monitoring station far in the AZ desert tracking Apollo missions.

My sis a year older than me was a full fledged commune living hippy ensconced in the anti-war make love not war crowd. But her and I never butted heads about our 2 different directions in life. When I got out of the Army in 70 I did have a horrible time finding a job, but thank goodness for family members paying an employment agency where I finally found work in a warehouse.

I was more than glad to leave 1968 behind.

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Response to DustyJoe (Reply #86)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:57 PM

92. Thanks friend!

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Response to DustyJoe (Reply #86)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:54 PM

110. My brother and I served together in the 101st Airborne Division

Jim got into the Army the way you did, though the juvie referee had to be convinced he was acceptable to the Army.

Getting a job was tough because stories about vets "acting out" made a lot of employers gunshy about hiring VN vets. I got lucky when I was interviewed by a senior bureau director at a federal agency who'd served as a grunt in WWII. We hit it off, and in that case being a VN vet actually helped me get the job.

Apart from that, though. I learned to keep my VN service to myself. After being called "baby-killer" and other names I avoided letting anybody know.

Welcome home, brother! I'm glad you made it.

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Response to DustyJoe (Reply #86)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:42 AM

127. iirc, 199th LIB was at Long Binh

I remember them securing part of the perimeter there when they weren't out in the field.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #127)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:49 AM

170. Long Binh

The 199th base camp (Camp Frenzel Jones) was in Bien Hoa right on the perimiter wire of the huge Long Binh base.

The proximity to the Saigon area kept us patrolling the Saigon approaches especialy following Tet. My Company was one that was lifted into the Phu Tho racetrack battle in Saigon. The unit spent the next 3 months chasing NVA and VC Tet leftovers back over the Cambodian border by Tay Ninh.

I had turned 18 in Sep 68 and was in VN 2 months later. Was a growing up experience.

Regards to both you and your brother. I was in the 504th/101st at Ft Campbell in 67 before my stint with the 199th at Benning.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #127)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:46 AM

186. LBJ

Long Binh Jail?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #186)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 04:25 PM

217. We were talking about the 199th LIB (Light Infantry Brigade)

Though Long Binh Jail, the stockade known to the troops as LBJ (for obvious reasons), was also at Long Binh. I had to take a prisoner there once, and the place was less than inviting, to put it mildly.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #217)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 05:22 PM

218. So I heard...

...of mortar attacks inside the compound,

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Response to DustyJoe (Reply #86)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:00 PM

190. Ft Huachuca is about 12 miles from where I live (outside Sierra Vista)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:05 PM

57. The entire year stands out for me.

 

Every single month some new and more terrible happened.

In January the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea.

February was the Tet Offensive.

In March Eugene McCarthy did well enough in the New Hampshire primary that Robert Kennedy was emboldened to run, and Lyndon Johnson decided he would not run again for President.

April Martin Luther King was assassinated and riots broke out across the country.

May the USS Scorpion, a nuclear powered submarine sank, with a loss of 99 lives. Student riots in Paris.

June Robert Kennedy was assassinated. The Prague Spring, with the people of Czechoslovakia trying to break free from the Soviet Union.

July was relatively quiet, but we were all still reeling from what had already happened so far.

August the Republicans nominated Richard Nixon for President, and the Democrats, amid bloodshed and rioting, nominated Hubert Humphrey. Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia, quelling that bid for freedom.

September saw some of the first major stirrings of the Women's Movement.

October there were student riots in Mexico City ahead of the summer Olympics. During those Olympics two black athletes angered many white Americans by raising their fists in the Black Power salute when our National Anthem was played.
Also that month Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.

November saw the election of Richard Nixon.

December we had the marriage of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon, the launch of Apollo 8 which gave us those amazing photos of our planet. The crew of the USS Pueblo was released on December 23, although the ship still remains in North Korea.

Yeah, every single month had something happening that would have been the story of the year in any other year. And I've only hit the highlights.

I turned 20 that year, and I remember it well.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #57)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:08 AM

159. nice chronology.

 



1967-1969AW(after Woodstock) have gotten a little fuzzy. After all, I was like WAY older than you at 21.


.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #57)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 03:55 AM

222. I turned 6 that year

the only thing I remember is waiting at the airport to see Robert Kennedy. Don't remember actually seeing him, only waiting at the airport on 11 May 1968. No memory of the sitting Veep from that day.

Kinda odd to see the election of 1968 from today - with Republicans taking Illinois, California and Oregon and Democrats taking Texas.

Makes me want to read about the USS Pueblo though.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:07 PM

58. Observation: Then and now.

I taught high school in the 60s. I recall high school kids VERY interested in politics. They identified with a political party, were interested in the war, participated in "Up With People" groups, and were deeply moved by assassinations. Today's kids don't even know who the Vice-President is.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:07 PM

59. I graduated from h.s. that year -

I've had no interest in watching the CNN series - I'd see ads for it and think "I lived through the '60s I don't have to watch it on TV" which I think indicates some unresolved feelings about that tumultuous era. (Yes I've been in therapy but for unrelated issues.) What I remember the most are the MLK and RFK assassinations. My expectation that America's numerous social problems would be resolved one day took a big hit.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:09 PM

60. 1968 brings to mind

the Tet Offensive and returning home between the Kennedy and King assassinations. Stepping off the plane in McGuire AFB, NJ was like being born again. Could hardly sleep for the first six months home and felt like I was vibrating. Could be from being around artillery for a year. The echo of the howitzers is still there in the background.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:11 PM

63. If you did not live through these years, I pity you - because

you, as a human being, probably never experienced something
so visceral that took you to the streets - no qualms - no question - just an automatic need to protest.

I do not believe it has happened again since. The closest thing I can think of - the :euphoria" - would be Obama's election - not a protest - but an overwhelming spirit.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #63)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:16 PM

67. Yes, I remember

the point was to get arrested, to have on the news the sons and daughters of the country in the street being beaten and arrested. I remember the groups I belonged to planning for the police response.

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Response to gwheezie (Reply #67)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:20 PM

70. Well, I was involved on a more tame/peaceful level but I can totally get what

you are saying...that total immersion into a cause - where you absolutely positively didn't give a shit what the consequences were.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:12 PM

64. I was 12 in 68 in Texas

I remember RFK, he my only real life hero at time, I hadn't learned to understand Lennon yet. Since I was Jewish I followed Israeli/Arab conflict when it was the good fight. My parents were into Wallace, hated everybody not like us. Not only blacks but yankees and hippies just as much. But we, as family, were really into the space program. We loved Laugh In and Batman, but also Green Acres and The Hillbillies. Still into westerns, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and Dean Martin. Especially 5 Card Stud. I loved Dean, but my parents thought Matt Helm too racy.

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Response to rickyhall (Reply #64)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:26 PM

73. What do you think it is about the south and Texas - my theory

is that everyone there is a handful of "American" generations back. There is no need to be tolerant-no one different than you. Where I grew up in CT - northeast - I understand that long ago - a new group of immigrants was around all the time - so you had to learn tolerance. this week - the Irish. Next week - the Poles, etc. etc.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:12 PM

65. My 1968 started in 1967

I was living in Newark during the riots. It seemed like that's when it got hot. I had been involved in the civil rights and anti war movement a few years by that time but this is when it got hot, and Kent State that was clear to me that the government was at war with it's citizens. I remember I was living in a commune back then, one night some people bought guns over, there was a division in the direction we were taking, I left, I still believe in non violent protest.
http://www.blackpast.org/aah/newark-riot-1967

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:17 PM

69. This is an amazing thread.

And I'm not saying that because I posted the OP. The responses here, the discussions going on, are beautiful.

This is what DU is supposed to be. It's better than the CNN program.

Thank you all. I'm reading everything. My head is spinning. I'm learning important things about some of my favorite forum members, and getting to know newer friends.

I'm going to grab a beer, and will be back in a minute!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #69)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:58 AM

129. I agree H2OMan

This is one for the ages! I can't believe so many similarities -- folks near one another in Viet Nam at the time.

This is very moving. Thanks for starting this thread.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:21 PM

71. I spent 1968 on the Coast Guard Cutter Point Hudson in Viet Nam!



Point Hudson was built to accommodate an 8 man crew.[6] She was powered by two 600 hp (447 kW) VT600 Cummins diesel main drive engines and had two five-bladed 42 in (1.1 m) propellers. The main drive engines were later replaced by 800 hp (597 kW) VT800 Cummins engines. Water tank capacity was 1,550 US gallons (5,900 L) and fuel tank capacity was 1,840 US gallons (7,000 L) at 95% full.[4][6] Engine exhaust was ported through the transom rather than through a conventional stack and this permitted a 360 degree view from the bridge; a feature that was very useful in search and rescue work as well as a combat environment.[7]

The design specifications for Point Hudson included a steel hull for durability and an aluminum superstructure and longitudinally framed construction was used to save weight. Ease of operation with a small crew size was possible because of the non-manned main drive engine spaces. Controls and alarms located on the bridge allowed one man operation of the cutter thus eliminating a live engineer watch in the engine room. Because of design, four men could operate the cutter; however, the need for resting watchstanders brought the crew size to eight men for normal domestic service. The screws were designed for ease of replacement and could be changed without removing the cutter from the water. A clutch-in idle speed of three knots helped to conserve fuel on lengthy patrols and an eighteen knot maximum speed could get the cutter on scene quickly.

Air-conditioned interior spaces were a part of the original design for the Point class cutter. Interior access to the deckhouse was through a watertight door on the starboard side aft of the deckhouse. The deckhouse contained the cabin for the officer-in-charge and the executive petty officer. The deckhouse also included a small arms locker, scuttlebutt, a small desk and head. Access to the lower deck and engine room was down a ladder. At the bottom of the ladder was the galley, mess and recreation deck. A watertight door at the front of the mess bulkhead led to the main crew quarters which was ten feet long and included six bunks that could be stowed, three bunks on each side. Forward of the bunks was the crew's head complete with a compact sink, shower and commode. Accommodations for a 13 man crew were installed for Vietnam service.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Point_Hudson_(WPB-82322)

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Response to yortsed snacilbuper (Reply #71)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:44 PM

84. A place in my heart for you, my friend.

Honored to meet you, so many years later.
Thank You

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:28 PM

74. I was only two in '68, but I have a few vivid memories of the late '60s:

 

* The moon program, which my father was heavily interested in -- watching the black-and-white feed, the TV flickering in darkness
* Seeing young men with missing arms and legs on crutches and in wheelchairs -- I had no idea about the war at that time, but obviously they were just returned from Vietnam.
* Riding around in the back of a neighbor's pickup truck with a bunch of neighborhood kids, and all the other kids were giving the peace sign to people we passed -- I thought we were all shouting "Peas!" It's funny how you don't question the logic when you're so young.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:31 PM

76. year I was born nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:39 PM

80. How many hours do you have, haha! 1968: Nixon elected during my birthday party. 1968: Chicago police

 

riots (official term).

1968: Martin. Bobby.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:41 PM

81. Woodstock, Vietnam, Janice Joplin, Jimmy Hendrick & my friend's new Mustang.(maybe that car was '69)

The Draft & my mom standing at the kitchen table with the local newspaper laid out, searching the list of draft numbers for my brother's birthday match.
She put her face in her hands..his number was 369. Her firstborn son would not be sent to war.

I remember the Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show.
Kent State stands out as horrific, to this day.

The cover of Newsweek magazine had a color pic of a young lady, A Hippie. A flower child, complete with headband, shawl & her hand held up in a Peace gesture.
I wanted to be a Flower Child more than anything else in the world.

1967/68 - Scott McKenzie


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Response to misterhighwasted (Reply #81)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:47 PM

87. Woodstock was

1969........although the concert had its roots in late 68. I remember talking about it with my college roommates.

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #87)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:57 PM

93. Right.

The Miami Pop Festival was in 1968.

A "new" Jimi Hendrix CD has been released. He played all three of the major festivals.

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #87)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:05 PM

96. Yes..67, 68, 69 kind of blurred together. so much DID happen in a short time

I was in high school. Our innocent existence was lost in a hurried way with such rapid changes. We were tossed into the world like rolling dice, to survive. It was pretty danged amazing to come of age in those years. And that we survived to remember & tell about it.

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Response to misterhighwasted (Reply #96)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:17 PM

102. Kind of blurred??????

It was blurred......it was a heavy fog that never lifted. I really don't want to those times again, but looking back, those times were simpler in many ways regardless of what was going on. Today's world......not so much.

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Response to misterhighwasted (Reply #81)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:05 PM

95. The '69 model year debuted in the fall of '68.

 

That's how they did it with every model back then.

My Dad was an autobody repairman and took me to all the new car openings since I didn't have a brother. I loved looking at all that new sheet metal with my Dad. Those muscle cars were really something. I particularly liked the Chrysler models. And the paint colors! Chrysler had this particularly wonderful purple metallic. It was groovy.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #95)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:11 PM

97. Oh yes. That Purple & Candy Apple Red too.

The 69 Barracuda.
My first car was a 69 Chevelle. Blue. And very fast

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Response to misterhighwasted (Reply #97)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:20 PM

103. Oh, man! The Barracuda. That's exactly what I was thinking of!

 

There was one sitting out in front of the local Chrysler dealer for a couple of months. It was purchased by someone out of town and I really missed it.

And yes, I remember the blue Chevelle. That was a nice, nice, nice, car.

My Daly-loving aunt and uncle from Chicago had a black Malibu with that nice big engine. I remember it well. I didn't like their taste in politicians but I loved their taste in cars.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #95)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:12 PM

100. wow you must have seen some of the coolest cars firsthand.

Lucky kid!

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Response to misterhighwasted (Reply #100)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:23 PM

104. I was lucky.

 

Those fall trips to see the cars are some of my best memories of my Dad.

I hope that there are some nice, big showrooms in heaven. If there are, I know that Dad will be there waiting for me.

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #95)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:33 PM

107. That's right!

haven't figured out new car roll outs are these days. Back then, late September, early October were the roll out times with great fanfare

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Response to GP6971 (Reply #107)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:45 PM

109. There was a incredible amount of hoopla!

 

I was in small-town Michigan, but we were close enough to one of the smaller industrial cities that there were UAW auto workers living in my neighborhood and one of my uncles worked on the line at the old GM Fisher Body plant in Grand Rapids.

All those guys got discounts on the new models and bought a new one every two or three years. So there were a lot of new cars around every fall. My uncle favored great big Oldsmobiles in blue.

Back then, all the factories in Michigan were going full blast all the time. If they weren't making cars and pickups, they were making tanks and two-and-a-half-tons. Guns and butter. There were good-paying union jobs everywhere. It was really kind of crazy. All that prosperity and young men getting shot up on the evening news every night at the same time.

Songs have words and instrumentals that sometimes go together seamlessly to give a real feel or emotion to the song that transcends the individual elements. I've always thought that the Rolling Stone's "Gimme Shelter" fit that really insane time. It has the same out of control energy that I remember from that time.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:44 PM

83. k and r

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:52 PM

89. Dion's song

Abraham, Martin & John

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 10:56 PM

91. The middle of my undergraduate years at UC. Every guy we knew had a 2-S (student)

deferment, and by '69, when the lottery was in effect, there were anti-war doctors in San Francisco who could help find an ailment that would keep you out. Such was white middle class privilege. But that year radicalized many -- protests on campuses, arguments with parents, feeling the futility of it all. The sadness of MLK and RFK underscored our belief that the war would never end. Kent State happened right before I graduated in 1970 -- that radicalized my parents. "If our country can kill it's own young for protesting, what kind of country is this?" Yes, indeed.

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Response to LuckyLib (Reply #91)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:01 PM

94. Muhammad Ali was

in his first full year of the forced retirement, and beginning to tour college campuses. I believe that he influenced a lot of young people who were not boxing fans. There are films of his presentations -- including often spirited Q&A sessions -- that convey the power of those events.

I'm curious what you might remember about Ali's influence?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #94)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 02:11 PM

220. I don't remember hearing about any formal tour, but I did see him occasionally on

TV news telling it like it was. One particular point I remember was along the lines of "I don't have any beef with the North Vietnamese people. Why should I have to go to war to kill them?"

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:11 PM

98. Some songs

Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunklel
Harper Valley PTA, Jennie ---O' Reilly (c)?
Cry Like a Baby. The Box Tops
Dance to the Musuc, Sly and the family Stone
Love Child. Diana Ross & the Supremes.....or was it just Diana Ross?
MacArthur Park. Richa Harris


Many, many more. Sadly, the start of the "bubblegum music" era.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 11:37 PM

108. I was in Berzerkely

Working on the BART Ashby and Downtown Berkeley (Shattuck Avenue) stations. It was like ground zero for all the counterculture stuff that was going on and I had to act like a hard hat construction worker, biting my tongue listening to my boss trash the hippies while secretly agreeing with what they were saying. I couldn't say much because I had a wife and two small children who sort of depended on my paycheck.

It was a good time. I was making decent money for the first time in my life, living in a place where there was lots to do, and exposed (at least indirectly) to people with whom I agreed politically. Turned out 1968 was the last year you could feel that way in Berkeley. The next year brought the Peoples Park incident, repression, racial tensions and violent confrontations. By 1972, work on BART had slowed down, my wife and I had decided that the East Bay was no place to bring up young kids, and we moved back to the Central Valley.

I'll be 73 years old in a month and I'll always remember 1968.

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Response to tularetom (Reply #108)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:21 AM

183. Thank you!

I appreciate your contribution to this thread/discussion.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:03 AM

112. Wow....

So many things.....

I graduated from high school, and graduation week one of my closest friends who graduated the year before was killed in Viet Nam. He had saved a seat on the school bus for me for years...he was a wonderful person, and to this day I tear up thinking about it. I have never stopped grieving for him. He was only there for a month, and I said good-bye to him a week before he left. Viet Nam absolutely permeated everything about life in 1968.

Martin Luther King...I was so ashamed he was killed in my home state, and so sad. I feel lucky to have been alive at the same time as this special man.

Bobby....I watched the funeral and my heart broke for Teddy. I watched the train all day. I still remember exactly how I felt...Bobby was so compassionate and caring, and I was just so sad and bewildered. It was a nightmare...it still is. The biggest "What If" ever.

The Democratic convention was unbelievable... I still blame George Wallace for Nixon getting elected. And I still can't believe Nixon DID get elected. Talk about a political comeback. I despised him.

I actually remember feeling sorry for LBJ....he could have gone down in history as one of our greatest presidents, for civil rights and anti-poverty, and he pissed all that away with Viet Nam. I still think that is sad.

So that's my two cents, for what it's worth. I will say this...if people had the passion and willingness to fight the status quo like we did then, things would be different in this country today. Not to mention, we had "Uncle" Walter Cronkite!





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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:04 AM

114. Just out of 1st grade, summer of '68.

 

I remember so clearly, like it's now, mom screaming the day Robert Kennedy was shot. She went to the drawer where my little brother's toys were kept and there was a little pistol for his cowboy outfit. And she took and threw it away. She was saying 'No! Child of mine! Will ever! ever! Shoot a gun!' God was she pissed. It was so sad. We had this picture of JFK in our basement, in her office, the one where John John is saluting his Dad's casket next to his sister and Jackie has her hand on his shoulder. I remember that funeral because of the horse, Blackjack, I think his name was. And the boots were on backwards with no rider. I was transfixed.

And I remember the fireflies we used to chase around at night. I had a great childhood.

My grandparents lived in Kent, Ohio, and we couldn't go see them because of the riots. When we finally did, I remember the store fronts being boarded up, and Dad being especially watchful when we drove down 59 past the school . I still see that picture of the girl being shot and lying dead on the front page, the paper there on the living room hassock.

Ironically the house I bought and raised my son in was in a neighborhood where one of our closest neighbors was in the guard and ordered to shoot. He said, ' we didn't want to shoot anybody. It was so confusing, we didn't know what to do.' He's a real gentle man. Another friend of mine was on campus and just remembers somebody taking a hankie and dipping it in a puddle and giving it to her to cover her face because of the tear gas.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:11 AM

115. I was born in '67 and was a jaded and cynical little prick by '68.

In '68 I used to shit my britches and scream a lot. I didn't give a fuck 'bout nothin'.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:18 AM

116. This is a fantastic thread!

I learn so much on DU.

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Response to xfundy (Reply #116)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:22 AM

152. Right!

This is what DU is capable of being. It's like a graduate course.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:35 AM

117. 1968 was a whirlwind of danger and daring all over the world.

The USS Pueblo Incident. (North Korea still has our Naval Intelligence ship.)
The Prague Spring. Until the Russian tanks rolled in.
The Student Riots in Paris
The Mexico City Olympics
The Assassination of RFK
The Assassination of MLK
The Burning of the Inner Cities
The Chicago Police Riots
The American Party ticket of George C. Wallace and Curtis LeMay

And the music was sublime:
The Beatles' White Album
Hendrix Electric Ladyland
Van Morrison Astral Weeks
The Stones' Beggars Banquet
Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends
The Band's Music from Big Pink
Big Brother's Cheap Thrills
Doors' Waiting for the Sun
Cream Wheels of Fire
Moody Blues' In Search of the Lost Chord

Which again indicates that you can always find some heaven in a disaster area.


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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:02 AM

119. 1968 sucked.

Constant turmoil and tragedy made it easy to turn on and drop out. I don't have any numbers or anything but there was, understandably, a lot of escapism.

The music was great!

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Response to moondust (Reply #119)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:39 AM

142. That's similar to

what my son said, a couple days ago, when I was telling him why 1968 was a great year. After listening to an old man babble on and on, he said, "How can you call that a great year? It sounds like the worst year ever!"

I told him that it was both.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:15 AM

121. I watched the series. It's completely accurate and exactly the way I experienced it from high school

through college. Yes, it was revolutionary. 1968 forever changed me and how I thought about our country and government. Because of that year I've always been a vigilant observer of national events.

When I turned 21 in 1969, I realized that no more major battles would ever be won the same way The People had won them. I knew that our government had separated itself from being of, by and for The People, and that a Deep State was being born.

No amount of any "power of positivity" cultural hoohah after that could make me turn a blind eye to any subsequent events that there were or were not reported by "official" stories from media. I looked to alternative anything beyond TV and mainstream print. Half of my generation went on to business school and became all the old corporate assholes I despise today. This hippy wanted to be like Jesus, so I went into teaching. (Years later I showed "1968" of this series to my high school students to give them context for understanding modern American lit we were reading.)

Abbie Hoffman, John Lennon and Daniel Ellsberg were my living heroes after that. Hallucinogens opened me to how insignificant it all was in the universe. The Whole Earth Catalog and Foxfire series informed my rejection of consumer capitalism. My inner hippy lost her trust that public effort would get results.

That's why I've not felt at all surprised by the fascist surveillance state we live under. 1968 shocked us who chose to see its larger meaning. It was the fatal rip in the hull of this democratic ship that I could feel was sinking slowly while a few more skirmishes played out on deck (e.g., the silly too-little, too late Weather Underground that came later.) Whole families had split over the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement.

What I saw was that it's not as if millions of us who witnessed 1968 didn't try to patch that breach, or sabotage the PTB at every turn, and with some success after that. But, among other reasons, the technology wasn't there to amplify the power and influence that now I only can dream we might have used to break the power of the military over civilian command.

Anyway, I'm feeling maudlin. The series is the best historical video document of that time, and your presenting its importance here means a lot to me. Thank you, H2O Man.

Edit: The following year, this song, along with the birth of my daughter, helped me a little to get over those events.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:17 AM

122. I remember going to school (10th grade) the morning

after RFK was shot, and a teacher, Mr. Armstrong, becoming upset becuase he felt the mood on campus was too light. He was right.

I also remember hearing Hey Jude hundreds of times that fall. I went to a Donovan concert a few days after its release, and he couldn't resist singing a few bars too.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:27 AM

123. Alive, but either an infant or in primary grades

Still, it was such an "out there" decade in every way, that I can still remember many of the highlights. Well, at least I can remember the ones at the end of the decade. JFK assassination is a blur. But I was older when his brother and MLK were killed. I do remember those, but through a very young child's eyes. I think one of the most striking memories for me was of the "hippies" and their cool music, clothes, and attitude. I lived in the Bay Area where it was all happening. My parents (0nly twenty-somethings at the time) took me to San Francisco to see the "hippies", almost as though they were objects to gaze at. I don't remember them laughing at them or ridiculing them, but they were considered something of interest. I may have been four or five, but I "got it" and their clothes and attitude influenced me for the next four decades (or more).

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:27 AM

124. Interesting thread

I teach writing composition at a community college. A few years ago, the research paper topic for the class was events that occurred in the year 1968 and the effects the events had on society and the world. Many of the events mentioned were topics, including topics not listed such as "The Year of the Pitcher," Nixon appearing on Laugh-In, and the Florida teacher's strike which was the first statewide teacher strike in American history.

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Response to Nedsdag (Reply #124)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:08 AM

158. Very good!

I think this thread would provide substance for a course in political science.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:38 AM

126. I was 14 in 1968

I remember telling my mother, seemed like in the early morning hours, only a couple months after MLK's assassination, that RFK had been assassinated that night/early morning. I distinctly remember her just slumping against the wall of my bedroom for support - utterly traumatized and stunned by the news.

My parents were great civil rights and anti-war supporters - liberals to the core. Their spirit lives on in me, my sister, my daughter and my nephews.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:50 AM

128. I was a Senior in High School

 

I remember that year well. Living in the south, some trends were a bit behind, but I intended to make up for that in spades that year. Bobby's assassination was on my graduation day.

The day Martin Luther King was assassinated was the first time I ever heard the word "Black Power" voiced by a Brother in my choir class. He was angry and it was palpable.

That was the year that I got turned on to a lot of things, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Orange Sunshine, Purple Haze, Marijuana and communal living, loving, getting high and getting politically active with radical anti-war Viet Nam Vets and Peace Corps volunteers, all together in one house.. Was introduced to the Chapel Hill SDS chapter.. it was so over my head but I tried to soak up every word. Never heard of Marx until then. Never heard Capitalism discussed from that point of view until then.

Hadn't thought about this stuff until I saw the heading 1968. A very special year for me. rites of passage in every way conceivable.

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Response to 2banon (Reply #128)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:02 AM

175. Very good!

Thank you for sharing this with us!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:02 AM

130. I am k&ring this for all the touching stories

and memories.

Thanks for doing this, H20 Man!

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Response to Sissyk (Reply #130)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:43 AM

143. Thank you!

A few of DU's old-timers have been telling me they are to the point of leaving this community. I do understand their feeling that way -- I do myself, from time to time.

My editor has been encouraging me to invest less time here, and more finishing "The Project." I told her that I had an idea for an OP here, that I thought could get the response that justifies my spending time here. This thread is it!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #143)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:44 AM

168. No, Thank You...

 



...this thread is better than CNN. In all their recent documentaries I keep looking for the wisdom I read on DU and I never find it. There is something about this forum that is attractive to those of us who were intimately involved in the 60's. I salute you for recognizing that quality.




.

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Response to CanSocDem (Reply #168)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:55 AM

171. I've sent the link

to this thread to a number of friends who teach. I really do think that it provides outstanding contributions to understanding not just what happened in 1968, but more importantly, how it changed people's lives.

Again, I don't think the OP itself is particularly important -- except that it led to the fascinating conversation that followed. (I do think rather highly of quite a few of my OPs, though!)

I'm trying to straighten up the house, before my editor arrives today. But I keep finding myself sitting in front of this computer, absolutely loving the contributions that community members are making.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:15 AM

131. The best way I can really express how I feel,

and what I remember about those days, is to post this cover of a Jefferson Airplane tune some very dear old friends and I made long ago.



Those were the days my friend.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #131)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:44 AM

144. Beautiful!

Thank you!

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Response to Zorra (Reply #131)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:41 AM

167. I was living in Atlanta listening to this song repeatedly.

Believing every word of it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:32 AM

132. i was 27, a divorced single mom. so much happened

RFK and MLK were assassinated. nixon was elected. there was viet nam -- pictures on the news every night -- even my 7 year old son talked about viet nam -- apparently it was discussed in school.

i was fortunate to have family help take care of my son so i could enjoy the times -- "make love not war". i worked in a beauty salon in greenwich village as an assistant manager. we were open late every night. if i was on the late shift most nights i went to the gay bars after work. i drove to work from queens in my 66 red mustang which had peace signs on it.

it's late and i'm tired, trying to remember -- the clothes were fabulous -- bell bottom pants and tom jones shirts -- lots of scarfs and beads -- head bands, mini skirts.

my on and off boyfriend served in viet nam. he had a purple heart and was an alcoholic. i remember his brother in law saying "he wasn't like this before viet nam".



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Response to DesertFlower (Reply #132)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:49 AM

146. "The Village"

My buddy David Peel was forming his group, The Lower East-Side Gang, there at that time. A few years later, he would play with John's Plastic Ono Band. While the influence of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin is often associated with the Nixon administration's effort to deport Lennon, a large part of that effort was tied to David .....those FBI files haven't seen the light of day yet! It was tied to some funding from "Luck of the Irish" (from "Sometime in New York City" going to the Old Sod.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:08 AM

134. That's the year I graduated from college,

University of Houston.

Politically, I remember the assassinations, of course, in April and June. I moved to Colorado after graduation, and then we had the Chicago debacle. I had favored McCarthy. After the riots and all, I didn't vote that year, even though I could have, because I was so disillusioned.

I was well into the counterculture by then, so on a personal level, I remember lots of acid trips, and lots of various other ways of getting high. I think after everything that had happened since 1963, I just wanted to zone out.

My first job out of college was for two 40-something oil geologists in Denver. One of them used to come up behind me when I was working and try to kiss me on the neck. There were times when I literally had to position the desk between him and me. They took me to "lunch" once at the topless bar across the street. Surprise! No one had ever heard of sexual harassment back then, so I had to quit and get a different job when I couldn't handle it anymore. The next job was better.

I have so many memories of that year, good and bad, I could probably write a book.



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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #134)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:08 PM

192. Thanks!

Geologists? Yikes! Their behavior was disgusting.

I think that this thread is a heck of a good document on '68. And that you should write that book!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:21 AM

136. It was blow after blow after blow, and by the end my heart was shattered in pieces

Last edited Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:59 AM - Edit history (1)

There's a part of me that has never recovered, and it's why I held my breath during so much of Barack Obama's campaign in 2008. I still fear for him. I don't understand the hatred and contempt some express here -- don't they know hatred has consequences for our people?

I was in community college in So Cal and my friends and I ran the McCarthy for President HQ in our town. No point in a campus office because the majority of the students in jr. college were under 21, so we were interacting with settled adults as it were. The day after the election we did have the satisfaction of finding out we had won the district we had worked so hard in, but really all hope was gone with Bobby's loss.

We hung around the HQ all by ourselves watching the donated TV until about 10:00 pm, when it was totally obvious McCarthy had lost California. I went home to my little apartment and listened to my transistor radio until the battery died. I didn't know about the assassination until the next morning, when I went downstairs to "do up" for the elderly couple who owned the house, and found the two of them sitting stunned in front of their TV. With them I watched Mankiewizc age a thousand years on camera.

Damnation it hurts to remember this. Now I've got tears on my glasses.

During the summer I moved back in with my parents while I got ready to transfer from community college to University of Hawai'i, which had accepted me in the first place just before we moved to California. It was in my parents' living room that I watched the Chicago Convention and the riots outside it, shaking and in disbelief. My friend who had recruited me to work on the McCarthy campaign had friends who were there, so we got an almost-first-hand account of the police riots. My friend's friend was in an office when the cops broke in and slammed him up against the file cabinets.

The day I went to the Los Angeles Airport to catch my flight Home I saw people deplaning from a Chicago flight. They were wearing black armbands.

I couldn't take living on the Mainland any more. The summer we moved to California the Watts Riots broke out. Then it was one assassination and riot after another, and I thought to myself how can people live like this?! I was just a kid from some islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I never ever wanted to live on the Mainland by then, and indeed it was over a decade before I returned to California to stay.

I haven't been able to watch much of the series, although it is well done. I've been afraid of doing what I'm doing now, I guess, which is sobbing.

I saw part of the episode on Hubert Humphrey last week and that man's fate just wrenched my heart all over again. He was a good man, and he didn't deserve what happened to him at LBJ's hands -- or Nixon's. LBJ was a good man but flawed; he even had greatness in him though he did some mistaken things and some very bad things. Nixon was just evil.


postscript: Almost redundant to say 1968 absolutely affected the rest of my life. My parents just didn't talk about politics much in the home. I do. I'm a Democrat, period. I'm a feminist. I'm pro-choice. I believe in Affirmative Action. I've worked, picketed, served for all these things. All of this grew out of my activities in 1968.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:54 AM

141. The HBO series "from the Earth to the Moon" has an episode called "1968"

It's quite possibly the best one in the series.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:45 AM

145. I was born in January of that year. It's all my fault.

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Response to wyldwolf (Reply #145)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:52 AM

147. I had not planned

to call you out on that. But I think most of the DU community knew that was what I was getting at. (!)

I didn't realize that you were just a kid. You are pretty darned wise, for your years. (grin)

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #147)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:34 AM

153. If you pull back my hairline...

... you can see the birthmark.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:01 AM

148. On Memorial Day I was a half mile from the DMZ in Vietnam and listened to the

Speech President Johnson gave after the Indianapolis 500 race was finished. He said in no uncertain terms that the bombing of North Vietnam had stopped. It was a bit difficult to hear him well over the noise coming from the bombing going on in North Vietnam at that moment. That was a moment that has stuck with me my entire life because it was at that time I realized the American people were not told the truth by those in Power. I was young and dumb and not all that political until that moment. It changed my life..

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Response to Bandit (Reply #148)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:14 AM

150. Wow!

Thank you for sharing that.

I think this is an amazing thread/discussion. Your post is a prime example of why I think it is extremely important. The OP/thread will likely not get "recognized" on DU's front page, for a variety of reasons. Yet, without question, there has been no more important conversation on this forum than this one. It's the stuff of a university course, and your contribution as a "guest speaker" is so valuable to the class's understanding. Again, thank you.

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Response to Bandit (Reply #148)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:40 AM

185. oh my god

I'm glad you made it home, Bandit.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:14 AM

151. I saw the European events that year

 

I was on the Paris streets for the marches and riots in May. Bought my first weed in the Latin Quarter. Traveled through Prague two weeks before the Russian invasion. Those were life-changing times.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:40 AM

154. I was just 4

The only memory I have of 1968 was being in the car and hearing the Apollo 8 Christmas message on the radio.

I'm glad I had no awareness of the assassinations at the time. That, and Vietnam, would have been gut-wrenching.

I do recall some impressions from just a few years later. The 1967 violence in Detroit always loomed large in my mind (I grew up in Detroit) as something that happened mainly in other neighborhoods. I was always proud to still be in the city and was a bit ashamed when my own family left for the suburbs in 1975.

Another big part of my worldview then was that the US was always in a war, somewhere. It's just how things were. Maps with little "blast" symbols marking the sites of battles, F-4s taxiing and taking off on TV... it was just part of the background.

And I thought that there was a stable progression as one aged from kid to teenager to hippie...

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:47 AM

155. I spend half of 1968 at a tiny Air Force base in Turkey.

I came back just in time to watch the Democratic National Convention. That convention was a turning point for me, so it was probably the most important event of that year. Following it, I joined the anti-war movement in the Washington, DC area and participated in many protests, and helped organize some of them, while still in the USAF.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:06 AM

157. It was a horrible year...

as a young kid the tv news was dotted with the nightkly body counts from Vietnam. Crap was blowing up around our coutry with the struggle for civil rights. Protests against the war and for civil rights. Nightly news dotted with cities burning here wit the riots. Nearby our city was burning and there was looting. Watched the Democrats beatup on LBJ and finally he said he was done....they then went after each other. We were happy when RFK got going, he came here to campaign as he was our Senator. Then it all went in the sewer the assassinations of MLK and the RFK. Riots, here riots then even at the convention in Chicago...cops beating people , fire hoses being used...it was like everything was falling apart. Tv news brought more Vietnam woes, with promises to end it all. We made it into the late fall. Space was getting exciting Apollo 8 was going to wizz by the moon...we (as a family) watch with excitment on Dec 21st...and then on Dec 27th death came to my house my father suddenly died at 51....1968 sucked. My life changed forever.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #157)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:15 AM

161. Thanks.

Your post illustrates how '68 impacted American youth ..... some good, much promise, but then spinning out of control.

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #157)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:48 AM

224. Yes. The nightly body counts from General Westmoreland.

 

As I mentioned in my longer post above, I finally looked up the population of Vietnam to see what percentage of the military-aged men had been killed or wounded. I did some math and figure that we must've killed all of them. That was it for me.

I'll never forget those body counts.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:16 AM

162. The sadness of Assinations

were weighing heavily on everyone. I was young, but back when you could learn something from the news..the images of violence, the assignations, the insecurities, the confusion, the turmoil--the hatred and back then those who were scorned, publicly dissed, demeaned, arrested, discriminated-they tried to warn us of what was coming in our own future...Collectively, we didn't listen. Many "grew up" and "worked For the man" they'd promised to oppose. and here we are.


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Response to fredamae (Reply #162)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:21 AM

164. Yep.

With MLK in April and RFK in June, it became apparent that there was something evil lurking in the shadows of American society. I do not tend to think "leaders" can institute real change -- it can only come from the grass roots, as a rule -- but those two really did have the potential to harness the positive energy of that crazy time, and to make the USA a better place.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #164)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:44 AM

169. Yep! Which is why

RFK and MLK "had to go"...people Were beginning to "hear them" and agreed.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 10:35 AM

166. OT but how is the fracking fight going ? nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #166)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:01 AM

173. Okay.

Things are moving slowly, but unsurely, here in NYS. It's hard to separate the fracking struggle, from the other political events going on ....the corruption in Albany, etc.

I'm expecting my editor to get here soon. We'll be reviewing the progress I've made on the book and the epidemiological report (closely connected).

I'll also be working on a couple campaigns this weekend; one in NYS, one in FL. Sometimes, I wish that I was identical twins, so that I could get more accomplished! (grin) But one thing that I've learned, though not completely mastered, is patience.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #173)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:02 AM

174. mad props to you and much success !!!!!! nt

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #174)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:03 AM

176. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:07 AM

178. I turned 10 that year

Orlando was still in the 1950's, largely. I remember RFK and MLK being assassinated. I remember being sad about those two events. My parents NEVER discussed current events or politics whatsoever. I remember seeing the nightly Vietnam death counts on CBS News with Walter Cronkite.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #178)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:18 AM

182. My family would

discuss "current events" at the table, during our evening meal. But, of course, my four older siblings were far more liberal than our parents -- who were FDR Democrats.

What used to be interesting for my brothers and I was to listen in, when my father's brothers visited. Dad was one of 14; several of his brothers were in the state police and military intelligence (and Dad's cousins were FBI). One of my favorite uncles was ONI; he was very high-ranking in the programs for SE Asia. Although he was a wonderful uncle, he reflected the intense anti-Kennedy passions that his group felt. He thought JFK was a "communist," and you can imagine how strongly he despised RFK in 1967-68.

Towards the end of my uncle's life, I sent him photos with some of the cards and letters I mailed him. Without thinking, I once included a photo of my oldest son, with RFK, Jr., who had offered him an internship at Pace that summer. (Robert didn't realize my boy was only 13! He was a big kid, very mature, and could grow a thick, full beard by age 12.) My aunt gave me a line of shit that I'll never forget -- "How could you do that to your uncle?" ....blah, blah, blah.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:13 AM

181. In January outside of Bien Hoa air base I was

kept alive by heuy and cobra gun ship crews who kept the VC regulars off our backs all night long.
I read in a Vietnam War history book that Saigon and Bien Hoa was attacked by 12 divisions of Viet Cong regulars.
I will never forget that night.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:46 AM

187. Thank you everyone for these reflections.

My favorite du thread ever.

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Response to Mike Nelson (Reply #187)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 11:54 AM

189. It ranks

high among the "documentaries"/books that tell the Truth about 1968 that I've ever seen. And definitely is a perfect example of how good this forum can be.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #189)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:02 PM

191. Roger that -nt

###

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:17 PM

193. I graduated from high school in Honolulu in '68. I was 17

I went to college in Salem, Oregon (Willamette). I turned 18 in Sept. I had a black roommate, my first encounter with race.
We became great friends. The school was conservative and the only pot smokers were myself and the few black students.
I learned many things that weren't in books. I met David Harris who talked me into not registering for the draft, and Ron Karenga, the man who started Kwanza. I would fly student stand-by to the Bay area, go to the Fillmore and return with hashish and uppers, which sold very well on campus. I was expelled at the years end, and became a hippie hobo in the Northwest, picking fruit with Mexican migrants and cutting trees for the Forest Service. I was vehemently anti-war, which disgusted my career Air Force officer father.
Oh yeah, I lost my virginity in '68 too.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #193)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:01 PM

205. I've been reflecting on how back then

if you smoked pot it meant you were against the war? Remember when drugs were more of a statement of belief then, of alternative culture. Of course, the cancer of capitalism took that over too, leading to rampant drugs like cocaine (fueled the 80s) and meth? We had heroin and speed then, I know.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:20 PM

194. Here are two that stood out for me

Some of this might stretch into 1969.

1) I was a crosswalk guard for awhile in elementary school. The farthest of our crosswalks was located next to a cemetery, and we held our crosswalk flag upright whenever a cemetary procession of cars came by. I remember some of them had US flags (attached to motorcycle escort or cars) and we were told they were Vietnam veterans. This happened often.

2) I lived in the projects and our school was poor and subject to the whims of tax levys. However, due to Johnson's Great Society (and maybe a bit of Kennedy's "Ask not..." we had amazing teachers who were highly motivated to be there to help educate us to overcome this hard start. One, for example, thought our Social Studies/History texts were inadequate. Back then, it was rare for a woman or person of color to be included. So she made photo copies at the University of Washington (UW) and taught us about a much wider range of people and movements: MLK, Harriet Tubman, Chief Sealth, George Washington Carver and on and on. She taught us about the civil rights movement and about the protests that were occurring in 1968 that were happening in the UW area where she lived. And she told us the parts that were'nt on the news, like the clouds of tear gas on the streets there that affected everyone in the neighborhood. I have too many instances of reaching out in marvelous ways from the teachers at that school to recount, for which I am forever grateful.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:30 PM

196. My memories: politix, Vietnam, family

1) the anger and guilt of returning Vietnam Vets

2) the painful division between my WWII hero father and myself, as he thought dodging Vietnam draft was as shameful as dodging WWII draft

3) discovery of the wide variety of competing and contradictory viewpoints in the antiwar left.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:32 PM

198. It was the pivotal year of my life.

I was thirteen. I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and had spent the previous four years shuffling between a dying mother and an Air Force father in Biloxi, and a little shipyard cafe run by my father's parents in Pascagoula. In January, my mother entered the hospital for the last time. It took her 'til March to die.

And then everyone else seemed to be dying too.

I don't know why; I never will, but I was a liberal from a very early age. It might have been because, like many kids back then, my early years were spent with a series of black caregivers (even though we were dirt poor, but when she was young my mother worked) and the cooks at the cafe. I was a nonstop talker and, unlike my family, they always talked to me and listened to me. And, like many people who turn out to be writers, I watched and thought about everything. I had wondered when I was very small why my mother didn't trust Lucy, the woman who looked after me while her own little girl stayed home and suffered from the heart defect that would kill her. I had wondered later why the cook who fed us and the men who frequented the cafe had to hand her own husband a plate out the back door. I loved my family for many and good reasons, but their ideas about race baffled the hell out of me.

So when Dr. King died, less than a month after my mother, I watched the people around me cheer-literally cheer-while I just wanted to put my head down and never pick it up. There was fear that the black folks around us would riot, a stupid fear, because they were terrified and depressed too. Maybe that too made me feel like we understood one another a little bit.

But I did have a little secret about my mother. She had been a Southern girl, with all the flaws that a young Southern girl could have, but she had some charms as well. And she had a crush on the entire Kennedy family. Jack's assassination stays fixed in my mind for having damn near killed her, much to her embarrassment and my father's amusement. Now it was just me and Bobby.

You all know the rest, except for one odd little item. I dreamed about Bobby's death the night it happened. It was literally a "We interrupt this dream" moment, the news anchor (I think I've got the right one) Frank Reynolds saying "Senator Robert Francis Kennedy...is dead." Next morning I turned on the television, and it was real. Now, if you look up how things happened it's possible that this is a false memory, because he didn't die that quickly. But the horror I still feel around that news has a dreamlike quality. It was the definition of "nightmare" for me. And the pleasure my people took in it widened a gulf that has remained. I don't know why, but I never talked to any of the black folks around me about the terrible things we were going through. I think I knew, and they knew, that it would have been outside the pale and looked down on by both their people and mine. In some ways, in those days, even we children were the enemy. So we went on, in a state of shock.

And in August that year my father volunteered to go to Southeast Asia and fight. I guess it was too much for him, and a war looked better. I didn't have that choice. I put my head down and went on. And I started writing, not about that, but about the kinds of things teenaged girls write about. It took me a long time to be able to write about 1968.

All those people are long gone, the cooks and maids and all the generation above me. I loved them, and I hated them, and I miss them, for all that I didn't understand them. But man, it was hard to be a kid in a world that seemed to be coming apart at the seams, with no one to talk to.

But I still write about it. I still watch and think. I still keep hope alive.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #198)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:15 PM

207. I would like to read your stuff. Anything published?

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Response to panader0 (Reply #207)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:43 PM

216. See PM. And thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:12 PM

201. Very big year

I remember that year all too well. 4 things stick out in my mind.

1. King was assassinated. I remember this was in the second semester of my senior year in High School in Northern DE. The next day, the schools were all closed and the temps were in the mid 60's, so a buddy of mine and I decided to go up to the Brandywine river and find out if his brand new surfboard would actually float. It did. Then about 3:30 we went to the Swanky Frank on 202 across from the Charcoal Pit. Sitting at the counter and kibbitzing with the counter guy (another friend) we noticed columns of smoke rising in the distance. Riots had broken out in Wilmington and the city was burning. We headed home and withing a couple of hours martial law had been declared in Wilmington, and the National Guard sent in. They would remain on duty in Wilmington, with the city under martial law from that day in April until the new governor (Russel Peterson) was sworn in the following January.

2. I graduated from High School that year and entered the University of Delaware in the fall as a Freshman. During that summer 2 events stick out in my memory, the police riot at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, and the crushing of the Prague Spring by Russian troops. During the first few weeks at College, I met a number of people who had been at the Democratic Convention as protesters.

3. Nixon was elected, with all of the fallout that would bring over the next 40+ years.

4. Vietnam, it was the year that the american public began to seriously question what the hell we were doing there.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:20 PM

202. I was 13 and already a political junkie

A full supporter, along with my mother, of RFK.

I think the big things that I remember from that year were:

1) LBJ dropping out of the race early, just after the New Hampshire primary I believe,
2) Dr. King's assassination in Memphis and the ensuing violence in many cities,
3) Bobby Kennedy's assassination... I was at the Hemisfair in San Antonio and up late watching the California primary returns and watched RFK's victory speech at The Ambassador. It was surreal waiting as he lingered in the hospital. And then watching the New York to D.C. funeral train coverage. It would have been a helluva convention and it would not have been a first ballot win for anyone, probably. Many politicos after-the-fact said they thought HHH would have won the nomination anyway, but I really doubt that. I think without a first ballot win, Humphrey would have been the one losing votes on subsequent ballots. RFK would have been the beneficiary and eventually would have won the nod IMO. Nixon would not have beaten RFK in the general, heck, he barely beat Humphrey
4) The bullshit at the Chicago convention,
5) The astronauts circling the moon around Christmas time.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:29 PM

203. Math exam

 

I suppose the most honest response to your question is to describe the first thing that came to my mind, instead of sifting through the year and trying to decide objectively what was most important.

When I read your post I immediately saw myself walking into a high school classroom. We had our final exam in math that morning. It was the morning after Robert Kennedy had been killed.

There were Kennedy supporters, McCarthy supporters, Humphrey supporters, Republicans. It didn't matter. We were all numb.

We all just looked at each other. We didn't even say anything. We didn't talk about the assassination, or anything about politics. We didn't talk about the exam, or the impending end of the school year, or any of the other casual subjects that would have fueled the chatter on a normal day. There was no need to talk. Everyone understood how everyone else felt, and it was some comfort just to be with friends that morning.

Sometime in the week or so thereafter, I changed my mind about the death penalty. I had thought that it was appropriate in some particularly serious cases. Now, this latest horror, coming so soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King, left me with an overwhelming revulsion against all the violence. I didn't think there was much logical connection -- I just felt that there had to be an end to the violence and that it should start with the government. There was too much killing. The government shouldn't kill people. That's still my view.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:35 PM

204. The Democratic National Convention

in Chicago, where I worked for Mobilization Housing and was arrested.

Nothing was ever the same again.

After I worked to pay off legal bills, in the Spring of 1969 I left my hometown and status quo for good.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:12 PM

206. I'm sharing this with my husband and friends

who were "there" in 1968. One was arrested as one of the Seattle Seven...not sure when those events took place. Unrest at the Univ. of Washington.

One thing that has so struck me in reading this thread: I'm amazed by how many Viet Nam vets there are on this site. "Thank you for your service," may not be the appropriate comment. I guess I would say simply how very very happy and fortunate we are to have you here with us.

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Response to cilla4progress (Reply #206)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:08 PM

209. Right.

I think it's impressive, how such a diverse group from that time are all here today.

I've been sending the link to this thread to a number of friends and associates, too.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 03:54 PM

210. I was 8 years old that year, but not entirely unaware of the goings on in the adult world.

It's interesting which things I remember. I have no direct memory of the Tet offensive, but do remember daily war news, body counts, etc. The weekly death tolls, in my memory,were always something like this: 47 American soldiers killed; 112 South Vietnamese troops killed; 402 Viet Cong killed; and 2,335 NVA soldiers killed. It sounded like we were really kicking ass in the war.

I don't recall anything about President Johnson's withdrawl from the race, but I do remember that as the California primary drew near, my family were big McCarthy supporters.

I well remember both the King and Kennedy assassinations. Shortly after the King assassination, my sister, a high school senior, had gone to Disneyland, and was very upset by something that happened there: on the brand new Pirates of the Caribbean ride a kid in the boat said, "Hi. We're from Memphis. That's where King got shot, and we're glaaaaad about it."

Regarding the RFK assassination - based on the following memory, I have to agree with those who say he probably would have got the nomination and been elected had he lived. My school was very Republican. Whenever we had a mock election the result would always be somthing like 28-2 for the Republican. Yet - in this same school, Robert Kennedy was almost universally beloved. He really did have some crossover appeal.

I remember Czechoslovakia being a cold war trouble spot. We watched the Democratic convention intently. The Olympics had a lot of political overtones that year, and seemed to be a pretty big deal. Bob Beamon's athletic feat was one for the ages. I remember Denny McLain winning 30 games.

I remember the bombing halt and Nixon's election.

I remember Apollo 8 and the Christmas message.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:06 PM

212. NASA and Nixon

For the people, events and reasons you listed, the year 1968 is a year like no other. The time is seared in my memory, from the Tet Offensive ringing in the "Chinese New Year" to the assassinations that so changed the course and nature of our country.

Personally, I was a spoiled 11-year old, absolutely obsessed with all things space. Remember the Major Matt Mason toys? Bendable space guy action figure. My dear dad thought it was nuts for a boy to play with dolls. At the time, I didn't understand why he hated my GI Joe. Little did he know that play was good for my imagination and psychic well being.

The loss of the crew of Apollo 1 in a fire in January 1967 made me sad in a way that only the loss of family and friends like family have affected me since. It also changed the way I witnessed and processed the amazing scientific and engineering miracle the manned space program was in 1968. I followed every manned U.S. and Soviet launch, and kept up with the planetary and lunar probes.

My wonderful mother helped me "tape" Walter Cronkite, Jules Bergman and the other news honchos on "reel-to-reel" tape recorder like the kind on "Mission Impossible." She would drive to various stores on the morning of a launch and come home with the precious tape, so I could listen again and again to them describe the mission -- starting about Gemini VIII or IX. I can't find any of the tapes any more, but I still remember the stories. Most of all, I appreciate my mom in a way I didn't at the time.

Dad was a physician and a US Navy vet and wondered WTH the government wanted to spend money on the space program. "We have plenty of problems here on earth to address." I tried to explain that we need to explore new worlds in space, not just to give us something to do, but to solve those problems at home -- war, poverty, ignorance, crime, joblessness, etc. etc. etc.

Nixon was the one who ended the Apollo program early. IIRC, per Joe Trento, he said, "It's a damn Democrat program." And so he did all he could to end it. He even denied a request to name the Apollo 11 mission after John F. Kennedy, something I learned only recently. His defunding of NASA also led to the version of the Space Shuttle that required the dangerous solid rocket boosters, rather than all-liquid fueled design with a manned and navigable booster. More expensive to develop -- cheaper in the long run. Safer, too.

Nixon also taught me about lies and politics in 1968. My sixth grade class election, I voted for the guy over Humphrey. My best friend, Paul R., told me I was nuts for doing so. He said his parents knew Nixon was a liar and a crook. And he told me not to believe his line that he had a "secret plan for peace" in Vietnam. Only recently have we discovered the extent of his criminality and treason. Nixon also is a big reason I can't stand the Bush dynasty, they represent the same forces of greed and tyranny that continued war in Vietnam, most profitably.

Thank you for an outstanding OP and thread, H20 Man. Lot of information -- plus memories.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #212)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 06:14 PM

213. Thanks!

The OP itself is nothing special -- and I'm not being coy, I have posted some pretty important things on this forum over the years, including a lot that reached further than this forum. But the responses are simply outstanding, by any measure.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 08:38 PM

214. Thanks to all here...

I've been lurking this site since the Top 10 conservative idiots was still in the single digits. I don't post much, but I do enjoy the viewpoints and knowledge expressed here.

H20 Man, I really have enjoyed reading your posts over the years. You have always been thought provoking, and provide a unique insight and historical context to events I would never have experienced. This post has been one of the most entertaining I have read on DU. It's rare that I will want to read each and every response in a thread sure to go several hundred replies, but this has been must read material!!

I was born in February 1968, so I didn't truly understand the impact of that year's events until several years later. My first exposure and understanding of politicians was President Nixon, so I started out with a mistrust of government officials right away. My outlook sure didn't improve once the Reagan administration set a record for convicted officials. I know I don't need to say a word about Bush the Lesser.

Thank you for starting an amazing post, and thanks to all who have shared.

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Response to Kensan (Reply #214)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 09:34 PM

215. Thank you.

I have really enjoyed this thread. There are a heck of a lot of outstanding people here, on this forum. And I'm mighty proud to be on the same team!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Aug 2, 2014, 05:52 PM

219. The '68 Democratic Convention. I was watching with my husband's family at his parents'

home in Hilton Head, SC, on a black and white TV, unsuspecting that there would be a riot in the streets of Chicago. My father in law started grumbling about the protestors even tho he was a Dem. My s.i.l.'s husband, a very liberal Dem, began to offer a reasoned critique of the unfolding of events. This enraged my father in law and he stormed off to bed (more than a little tipsy). My poor m.i.l. fretted. We were all stunned. My s.i.l. went to soothe her father and I just steamed. I was getting more and more radicalized in my political thinking.

I can still remember that evening and how shocked we all were by what happened that fateful night. What a year!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 04:19 AM

223. Arguably the most historic year of modern times...

but the reasons for that extend far beyond the borders of the USA. It was the protests of 1968 in Communist Europe that sowed the seeds of the gradual reformism that culminated in the fall of Soviet Communism. Outside the US? The defining events of 1968 are the Paris protests and the Prague Spring. See here, for instance: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jan/20/1968theyearofrevolt.features

History is more than just America, as Americans frequently need reminding.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 06:45 AM

225. kick nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:12 AM

226. My very first reaction was the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Watching the turmoil in and out of the convention was eye-opening. It was mayhem on the outside and disruption on the inside to say the least.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 08:34 AM

227. Because I rarely watch CNN...

I missed that series and, I wish that they would do a replay afterwards. I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of things that I found interesting and scary during that period. In fact, the 60's were an interesting and scary period to me. I grew from a young teenager during the early part of the decade to a new wife and mother at the end of it.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/us/the-sixties


I wish that DU had a 'heads-up' on TV programs that people would find interesting or entertaining. (unless I've just missed that segment of this site).

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:08 AM

228. I spent 1968 doing the

only thing that seemed positive at the time--serving in the peace corps. As I was out of the communications loop, I didn't even know what was happening until I returned. That experience educated me and provided me with much more than I gave.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:27 AM

229. The best overview of the '68 election is "An American Melodrama: the presidential campaign of 1968"

Its by 3 British journalists and is brilliant.

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Response to Rowdyboy (Reply #229)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:41 AM

230. I have that.

Great book.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 01:22 PM

231. 1968 Hemi Roadrunner, Plymouth's "Elenor"

 

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:06 PM

232. I forgot about

Khe Sanh

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