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Forty years later...who could forget 1968, the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the turmoil of the Vietnam War, and the Apollo space program's race to space? We commemorate that pivotal year in the May & June 2008 issue of AARP The Magazine and online with an engaging multimedia package that includes an interactive timeline, a quiz to challenge your memory, interviews with the likes of Jane Alexander, Oliver Stone, and Elvin Hayes, reader stories, and more.
Check it all out at www.aarpmagazine.org/1968">http://www.aarpmagazine.org/1968 and share your own memories of that unforgettable year below. What event or experience changed you, and how? Was the course of your life altered in any way?
I have thought for quite some time, and I've told my friends, that 1968 seems like one of the worst years of the 20th century for our country. Few of them seemed to think much about it. So I'm glad to see articles and shows coming out about that year, because I'd like to know more about it myself. I was pretty young at the time. I remember the really big events, but over the years I've read or heard more and more about that year that keeps convincing me it was the worst or one of the worst years of recent memory; or maybe I should say momentous.
The assassinations of course were the worst memory - of MLK and RFK. I keep thinking I may have been dreaming but I remember watching TV late at night when the station switched to the bedlam of the California primary place where RFK had just made his speech. People were crying, screaming, looking around, jostling and someone yelled Kennedy has been shot. I don't recall what station or network was carrying it but we only got a couple channels on our farm in the Midwest at the time. People were trying to wrestle the gun away from the gunman (Sirhan Sirhan?) and one of them was Rosie Greer. There was no commentary for what was being shown for the longest time. It was mainly a cameraman, maybe more than one - I don't know - filming this scene. I may have dreamed this, but I don't think so. I don't remember any network saying that they had broadcast the event live. But surely there were TV cameras present at RFK's speech after winning in California.
I was in junior high and I was shocked and wondered what was going on in our country. I thought, "Not again!" It was so depressing.
Ever since then I gradually came to the conclusion that 1968 was a terrible year. I think that was the year of the Kent State shootings, too. I know in Vietnam, the Tet offensive happened that year. The riots or police beatings that broke out at the Democratic Convention. I think President Johnson announced he would not seek nor would he accept nomination for a second term earlier that year. (Listening to that speech felt like something historical was happening. Just from what he was saying and the way he said it, it didn't sound very hopeful; I mean, the President sounded like he was giving up or quitting, sort of).
I caught a bit of, I think, a PBS program about the year 1968 and I know there were more terrible events in the US. than what I can think of from the top of my head. Was Malcolm X murdered that year, also?
I just think it was a year when it seemed like our society was crumbling. I remembering being sort of afraid even though the assassinations that happened and other events were not local to the area where I grew up.