Category Archives: 1970s

Bob Dylan, Forever Young …

May 24, 1971 – In honor of Bob Dylan’s 30th birthday, Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip features Linus telling Charlie Brown that Bob Dylan was turning 30.  Charlie Brown replies “That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.” Born Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota in 1941, Dylan became the poet, musician and songwriter of his generation and has gone on to release more than 500 songs in his career, including such ballads as Blowin’ in the Wind, Lay, Lady Lay,  and House of the Risin’ Sun.  He burst upon the music scene during the folk music movement and was often associated with Joan Baez, civil rights and the anti-war protest.  In a 2004 interview, he revealed that he was influenced by poetry of Dylan Thomas and explained changing his name: “You’re born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself.  This is the land of the free.”  Perhaps the Peanuts comic strip inspired Bob Dylan to write “Forever Young” which was released a few years later in 1974.  Dylan himself marks the occasion at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall.  Later he became a born-again Christian but then quietly returned to something between a devout Jew and man seeking his God.

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Filed under 1970s, Music, Pop Culture

What did the President know, and when did he know it?”

On May 17, 1973 The Senate Watergate Committee, chaired by Democratic Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina and Republican Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee as Ranking Member, began their investigation of the Watergate scandal on national television.  Originally all three networks carried the procedures live, but then went on a rotating schedule.  The hearings made stars out of both Ervin, who became known for his folksy manner and wisdom but resolute determination, and Baker, who appeared somewhat non-partisan and uttered the famous phrase “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” Many of Watergate’s most famous moments happened during the hearings, including John Dean’s “cancer on the Presidency” testimony and Alexander Butterfield’s revelation of the existence of the secret White House Nixon tapes.

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Filed under 1970s, Nixon, Politics

The Hard Hat Riot – America, Love It Or Leave It

May 8, 1970 At the intersection of Wall Street and Broad Street in lower Manhattan, approximately 200 construction workers attack about 1,000 students protesting the Vietnam War, the invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State shootings.  Carrying American flags and signs “USA All The Way” and “America, Love It Or Leave It” the construction works begin attacking the protestors singling out those with long hair.  Eventually the riot spreads to New York City Hall where the American Flag, lower to half-staff in remembrance of the Kent State students is raised, lowered, then raised again.  In the end, 70 were reported injured and it was clear American was dividing.

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Filed under 1970s, Politics, Vietnam

Good Morning (Unified) Vietnam

April 30, 1975 Born in 1890, Ho Chi Minh was the son of a Confusion scholar and early in life became a teacher.   Between 1912 and 1919, Ho lived in both the United States and England working as a chef and baker including a stint at the Parker House Hotel in  Boston.  From 1919-1923 He continued his education in France and became a communist and began advocating independence  for what was then called French Indochina.   He later lived in both the Soviet Union and China before returning to  Vietnam in 1941 to lead the Viet Minh independence movement fighting both the Vichy  French and Japanese during World War II.   He borrowed heavily from the American and French traditions and issued a  Proclamation of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in  1945.  After the French abandoned Vietnam  in 1954, the Geneva Accords celled for the division of Vietnam into a Communist  North and Non-communist South.  This lead to what would eventually be called the Vietnam War and Ho Chi Minh, as President of North Vietnam, lead the insurgency that sought to unify both halves into a united, communist Vietnam.  He  died in 1969 but he remained the leader of the revolution even in death.  When the government of South Vietnam collapsed  on April 30, 1975, the capital of Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh city in his  honor.  Though he did not live to see it,  Vietnam eventually became an independent, united nation.

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“Strike with the greatest determination straight into the enemy’s final lair”

On April 29, 1975 at 6:00 AM local time, the North Vietnamese Politburo ordered General Dung to “strike with the greatest determination straight into the enemy’s final lair.”  Shortly thereafter, the airport was hit by rockets and heavy artillery effectively closing it.  The only way out was by helicopter and Operation Frequent Wind began.  At 10:51 the American radio station began playing “White Christmas” over and over again as a signal for American personnel to move immediately to their evacuation points.  Throughout the day and night, buses shuttled evacuees from throughout the city to sites where helicopters evacuated more than 7,000 people, mostly Americans.  These sites included the Defense Attaché Office (DAO) compound, the US Embassy and the CIA Headquarters captured in this photo.  Meanwhile, many South Vietnamese descended on various locations hoping to claim refugee status and escape.  Harrowing images of their desperation continues to haunt many.  After years of conflict, thousand and thousands of American lives, most of them drafted, and innumerable Vietnamese were lost in what finally amounted to an embarrassing and heart wrenching conclusion.  Vietnam, this tiny obscure country in Southeast Asia, had torn America apart, destroyed two presidents, and forever changed the way we live.  A sad ending to a very sad story.

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Filed under 1970s, Vietnam

Nixon Invades Cambodia

April 28 1970 In an effort to take a pre-emptive strike at stopping the North Vietnamese from infiltrating the south, Nixon gives formal approval for US troops to attack in Cambodia.  Highly controversal, three National Security Council staff members and key aides to Henry Kissinger resigned in protest.  When the decision was made public 2 days later,  a wave of protest swept over America at what was considered to be an escalation of the war.  One of those protest would take place at Kent State in Ohio.

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Filed under 1970s, Nixon, Politics, Vietnam

Trans-Alaska Pipeline Begins

March 27, 1975 – After much debate and political wrangling, construction begins on the 800 mile pipeline from the Alaskan North Slope to the ice-free port of Valdez on the Gulf of Alaska.   Completed on May 31, 1977, the pipeline crossed 3 mountain ranges and over 30 different rivers and streams costing, in 1977 dollars, over 8 Billion dollars.  The project employed up to 28, 000 workers at a time, many of them housed in 29 construction camps, the largest having almost 3500 beds.   ironically, the pipeline was finally developed in response to the oil embargo crisis of 1973 when the rapid rise in oil prices made the feasibility of this project practical.

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Filed under 1970s, Carter, Ford, Politics