Many people have enjoyed their FIFTIETH High School reunion this year. Here are a few highlights from that year.
The number one song (although opinions differ) was Get Back, by The Beatles.
The number one movie was Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
The top four TV shows were: Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Mayberry R.F.D.
Notable births were: Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z, Jennifer Aniston, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Tyler Perry, Matthew Mc Conaughey, Cate Blanchett, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Bobby Brown and Marilyn Manson.
Famous people who died were: Judy Garland, Sharon Tate, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Brian Jones, Rocky Marciano, Boris Karloff, Mary Jo Kopechne, and Abigail Folger.
1969 was an eventful Summer:
April 23 | Sirhan Sirhan sentenced
Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of murdering New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign, is sentenced to death a week after being found guilty. Three years later, his sentence is commuted to life in prison after California abolishes the death penalty.
May 18 | Apollo 10
The Apollo 10 mission is a dress rehearsal for the lunar landing module. This mission tested “all aspects of the lunar landing mission exactly as it would be performed, except for the actual landing,” according to NASA. It also transmitted the first color pictures of Earth from space.
May 23 | The Who releases “Tommy”
The Who, a key band of the 1960s British Invasion, releases the rock opera “Tommy.” The double album features songs like “Pinball Wizard” and “Tommy, Can You Hear Me?”
May 24 | Beatles’ “Get Back” is No. 1
“Get Back” by the Beatles becomes the top song on Billboard’s list and stays there for five weeks. Released as a single, the song later appeared on the “Let it be” album. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in” by the Fifth Dimension was the second song on the list for that week.
May 25 | “Midnight Cowboy” released
John Schlesinger’s “Midnight Cowboy,” starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman, is released with an X rating, the first ever in wide release. The film received seven Academy Award nominations and won three, including best picture. Other notable movies released during that year include “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Easy Rider” and “True Grit.”
June 3 | Last episode of ‘Star Trek’ airs
The last episode of the original “Star Trek” airs on NBC. During the episode, titled “Turnabout Intruder,” one of Captain Kirk’s former lovers steals his body.
June 6 | Joe Namath briefly retires
Joe Namath, the star New York Jets quarterback who famously guaranteed a Super Bowl victory, briefly retires from the National Football League over a conflict with league Commissioner Pete Rozelle.
June 8 | Nixon and Vietnam
President Nixon, after being elected on a campaign pledge to pull troops out of Southeast Asia, announces the withdrawal of 25,000 U.S. troops from Vietnam.
June 9 / June 23 | Burger becomes chief justice
Appointed by President Nixon, Warren Burger is confirmed as the chief justice of the Supreme Court on June 9, succeeding Earl Warren. Two weeks later, he is sworn in. In 1973, Burger votes with the majority in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.
June 28 | Stonewall riots
A confrontation between gay rights activists and police outside the Stonewall Inn — a gay bar in Greenwich Village, New York City — escalates into a riot. Over the next four decades, the riots act as a symbolic force for the burgeoning gay rights movement.
July 25 | Sen. Kennedy and Chappaquiddick
Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy receives a two-month suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Mary Jo Kopechne, once a campaign worker for Sen. Robert Kennedy, drowned in the July 18 accident in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts.
July 20 | Moon landing
Apollo 11, carrying three U.S. astronauts, lands on the moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon; crew mate Buzz Aldrin also walked on the moon. The third man on the mission was Michael Collins. Six lunar landings followed.
July 24 | Muhammad Ali convicted
Boxing champion Muhammad Ali is convicted of evading the draft after he refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Two years earlier, Ali applied for an exemption as a conscientious objector but was denied. He was stripped of his fighting license and title. He returned to the ring in 1970, and his conviction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971.
August 9-10 | The Manson murders
During a two-night rampage, pregnant actress Sharon Tate and seven others are killed by Charles Manson and his “Family.” Manson and four others — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles “Tex” Watson and Leslie Van Houten — were later convicted of murder and other charges. Their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1972.
August 14 | British troops sent to Northern Ireland
More than 300 British troops are ordered into a Londonderry neighborhood in Northern Ireland after three nights of clashes between police and Catholic residents. The troops were supposed to stay for days, but the conflict lasted decades. The number of British troops stationed in Northern Ireland peaked at 30,000 in the early 1970s.
August 14 | The Miracle Mets
The New York Mets fall nine games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League race but, led by future Hall of Fame pitchers Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver, stage a comeback in the months that followed to capture the pennant. They went on to defeat the Baltimore Orioles for the Word Series title.
August 15-18 | Woodstock
Nearly 400,000 people show up at a farm in Bethel, New York, for a music festival that features legendary acts Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Sly and the Family Stone. The event would help define an era.
August 17 | Hurricane Camille
More than 250 people are killed in Mississippi and Louisiana when Hurricane Camille strikes the United States mainland. At its peak, Camille was a Category 5 storm, packing winds stronger than 200 mph and leaving tides measuring higher than 20 feet in its wake.
September 1 | Gadhafi assumes power
Moammar Gadhafi, a military captain at the time, deposes King Idris and assumes control of Libya.
September 24 | The “Chicago 8” trial begins
A trial gets under way for eight people — known as the “Chicago 8” — who were indicted on charges connected with protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. After a long, raucous trial, two were acquitted, and the others were convicted on various charges. Eight police officers were also indicted in connection with the disorder in Chicago.
The 1969 graduates with whom I have communicated, from several states, thoroughly enjoyed reuniting with their classmates from a half century ago.
At that point in time, the minimum wage was only $1.40 per hour but a gallon of gasoline only cost thirty-five cents.
I graduated from Pike County High School in Zebulon, Georgia in 1969.
Yes indeed….Time does fly!