Life is either a daring adventure
The Vietnam War
In 1961, South Vietnam signed a military and economic aid treaty with the United States leading to the
arrival (1961) of U.S. support troops and the formation (1962) of the U.S. Military Assistance Command. Mounting dissatisfaction
with the ineffectiveness and corruption of Diem's government culminated (Nov., 1963) in a military coup engineered by Duong
Van Minh; Diem was executed. No one was able to establish control in South Vietnam until June, 1965, when Nguyen Cao
Ky became premier, but U.S. military aid to South Vietnam increased, especially after the U.S. Senate passed the
Tonkin Gulf resolution (Aug. 7, 1964) at the request of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
J.F.K. Is Assassinated
A large and enthusiastic crowd greeted the presidential party when it arrived at the Dallas
airport on the morning of November 22. Along the route of the motorcade into downtown
Dallas the people stood 10 to
12 deep, applauding warmly. Next to the president in the big
open limousine sat his wife. In front of them, on jump seats,
were John B. Connally, the
governor of Texas, and his wife, Nellie. The third car in the procession carried Vice-
and Mrs. Johnson. As the cars approached a triple underpass, Mrs. Connally
turned around and said, "You can't say Dallas
doesn't love you, Mr. President."
At that moment three shots rang out. The president, shot through the head
slumped over into his wife's lap. The second bullet hit Governor Connally, piercing his
back, chest, wrist,
and thigh. A reporter, glancing up, saw a rifle slowly disappear into a
sixth-floor corner window of the Texas School
Book Depository, a textbook warehouse
overlooking the highway. It was 12:30 PM in Dallas.
Martin Luther King was killed by a sniper on April 4, 1968,
at 6:01 p.m. as he stepped onto the balcony outside the Motel Lorraine in Memphis, Tennessee. See the original New York Times news story on this day.
A small-time thief named James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King from the bathroom of the flophouse
across from where King was staying. Allegedly, Ray balanced on the edge of a bathtub, rested his rifle on the window sill,
and fired a single shot that with trained-sniper perfection entered King in the head. No witness saw Ray shoot, although one
claimed he saw a man leaving the bathroom around that time. A bag was found in front of a store near the rooming house, and
the bag had a rifle sticking out of it. The rifle bore James Earl Ray's fingerprints.
James Earl Ray confessed in court to the crime, and was sentenced to life instead of being given
the death penalty due to that confession.
June 4, 1968, was an important but nerve-wracking day for Robert Francis Kennedy, senator from
New York. . A week earlier he had lost a vital race for West Coast votes in the state of Oregon to Senator Eugene McCarthy
in the Democratic Primary, dampening the spirit of the Kennedy campaign. But, now, here in California, his supporters foresaw
good things to come. With its 174 delegates as the prize, California was a very strategic ballot box for any one of the nominees
to walk away with, and, best for RFK, it was believed to be a "Kennedy state". Taking a California victory into the Democratic
Convention in Chicago would be powerful. And it was really no secret that the Democratic Party itself preferred Kennedy to
win, for if anyone could beat Republican Richard M. Nixon in the upcoming Presidential run it would be a Kennedy. That had
been proven in 1960.
More changes arguably took place in American society during the 1960's than in any other decade of the 20th
century. Of all the events of those years, perhaps none was more emblematic of the counterculture than the Woodstock Music
and Arts Festival, held in Bethel, NY, in mid-August of 1969. I was there, and I've written my memories here of what was simply
the best party ever on Planet Earth. I doubt anyone who was at Woodstock was ever quite the same afterwards.