Don’t Look Back
I don’t really do the thought-provoking look back on my life on my birthday. I figure the mistakes I’ve made I obviously can live with (for obvious reasons), the path not taken is so far gone as to not even matter any more, and if I’m not the person I thought I’d be by now (i.e. a grown-up) then it’s come with its own trade offs. I don’t look back on my life, but if you know me then you know how much I love history.
1968 was not a banner year for a lot of reasons: the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the Tet Offensive, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the Battle of Khe Sanh…oy, do I have to go on? But amidst the funereal theme of 1968 there are a few standouts- some are biggies and some just elicit a smile.
On April 11, 1968 President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. Do I need to explain this any more than that? Nope. I will point out that it was the boorish redneck Texan who saw this one through – not some smooth politician who could play the game. Sometimes in politics you just need a really large set of balls.
For my sci-fi friends November 22 was the date of the first inter-racial kiss on television…on….Star Trek of all things. When the network censors balked at showing it, and wanted a non-kiss version, William Shatner reportedly ruined all of the other takes so they had to use the take with the kiss.
Some of the greatest bands, can I say in history or is that bravado?, were formed in 1968: Rush, Yes, and a little-known group (you’ve probably never heard of them) called Led Zeppelin.
Songs from 1968 include, and I’m just listing my faves here: All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix, Blackbird – the Beatles, Carolina in My Mind- James Taylor, Springtime for Hitler – Mel Brooks, Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell and Sympathy for the Devil – the Rolling Stones. So much about me is becoming clear, isn’t it?
And finally, on December 24th, the first manned spacecraft orbits the moon.
“Earthrise” the photo taken of the Earth by Astronaut William Anders.
Of the thousands of congratulatory telegrams received by the astronauts upon their return one offered a sincere thanks after a year of disaster: “You saved 1968.”