On May 20, 1969 the real battle of Hamburger Hill ended after 10 days. Although heavily fortified by the North Vietnamese, the hill was of little strategic value but the American command ordered a direct assault. The battle would involve about 1,800 men, and ten batteries of artillery. The Air Force flew 272 support sorties dropping 450 tons of bombs and 69 tons of napalm. The hill would be abandoned June 5th. The stupidity of the battle enraged Americans.
May 19, 1962 – At a pre-birthday party for President Kennedy held at Madison Square Garden in New York, Marilyn Monroe gave her famous rendition of Happy Birthday. With 15,000 in attendance, Monroe’s sultry and seductive vocal was upstaged only by her dress. So tight she had to be sewn into it, it was flesh-colored appearing almost sheer with over 2500 rhinestones. She sparkled and exuded sexuality. Allegedly, she wore nothing underneath.
It was to be Marilyn’s last public appearance. She would be found dead two and half months later. Rumors persist that she and Kennedy had had an affair.
May 18, 1968 Apollo 10, the last of the Apollo missions that did not land on the moon, launched on its 8 day voyage. It was basically a dry run of all systems that would be used in the moon landing of the Apollo 11 mission. Its success ensured that the United States would beat the Soviet Union and win the Race to the Moon.
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.
May 16, 1966 – Chairman Mao and the Communist Party of China issue the May 16th Notice signally the beginning of the The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. “Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have snuck into the Party, the government, the army, and various spheres of culture are a bunch of counter-revolutionary revisionists. Once conditions are ripe, they will seize political power and turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Some of them we have already seen through; others we have not.” Commonly refered to as the Cultural Revolution, millions of people were persecuted in the violent factional struggles that ensued across the country, and suffered a wide range of abuses including torture, rape, imprisonment, sustained harassment, and seizure of property. A large segment of the population was forcibly displaced and historical, cultural and religious sites were ransacked. China became isolated from the world and images that escaped instilled fear and bewilderment in the west.
May 13, 1960: Several hundred University of California, Berkeley students protest the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco. When the demonstrators are barred from the hearing room, a loud scuffle breaks out. The police turn on high-pressure fire hoses and blast the crowd down the marble steps. Officers arrest 64 people, including 31 Berkeley students, but instead of discouraging the protest, the confrontation becomes a call to arms. Many consider this the begining of the Free Speach Movement that would sweep American campus protesting the war in Vietnam.
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.