Reflecting on 1968

@FourWalls (13680)
United States
April 6, 2018 11:23am CST
In 1968 I learned a lot of words that eight-year-olds shouldn't know: "curfew," "race riots," etc. It was 50 years ago this week that Reverend Martin Luther King was assassinated on the balcony of his hotel in Memphis. I didn't understand the magnitude of the man at the time, but I do remember the sadness...and the anger. Then, two days later, on April 6 (50 years ago today), a massive gas explosion leveled two blocks of downtown Richmond, Indiana, killing 41 people. News reports were quick to point out two things about that tragedy: one, it was not related to the riots that were going on in other cities; and two, black and white stood together, side by side, helping firefighters fight the blaze and search for the injured (and dead). I've mentioned this before, usually when discussing music: people talk about how "great" the music was in the late 60s. There was a diversity in styles that was great for music, indeed. However, I wouldn't want to live through that time again. 1968 was UGLY. The day after Rev. King's assassination 19 people were killed in riots throughout the country. President Johnson had thousands of National Guard troops protecting Washington DC, and sent thousands more into large cities like Chicago and Detroit in an attempt to quell the riots. For the only time I can find, the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville was cancelled -- due to the riots (and subsequent curfew). And that wasn't the half of it: in June Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles. In addition to the race riots, protests over the Vietnam War grew more vocal and more violent (culminating at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August). Here I am, 50 years later, looking at the tinderbox that is our nation. We haven't learned a whole heck of a lot, have we. Here's a topical song about that horrid year, from Johnny Cash's brother, Tommy:
Written by Larry Murray and recorded by Tommy Cash. Released as a single from the album "Six White Horses" in 1969. It reached #4 on the Billboard country ch...
13 people like this
10 responses
@Corbin5 (105933)
• United States
6 Apr
Humans really are lousy at learning from past mistakes. We seem to be victims of repetition more often than not. How easily we forget.
4 people like this
@dgobucks226 (12080)
8 Apr
Yes, history does repeat itself.
3 people like this
@JohnRoberts (56667)
• Los Angeles, California
6 Apr
That said I would still argue 1968 was a better time despite it all. Man on the moon. A kid could still get a job as a gas pump jockey. A lot more freedom than today.
3 people like this
@amadeo (65592)
• United States
6 Apr
It has been how long?not sure in hearing this.I was a gas jockey pumping gas and checking oil.I loved it
2 people like this
@FourWalls (13680)
• United States
6 Apr
Fifty years. Where did that time go????
@teamfreak16 (41149)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
1 Jun
Did you also clean the windshield? That guy was my hero when I was a little kid. No idea why, but he was!
1 person likes this
@amadeo (65592)
• United States
1 Jun
@teamfreak16 yes and check the oil also tire pressure.Plus my wonderful personality
2 people like this
@JudyEv (123138)
• Bunbury, Australia
7 Apr
I thought the voice was Johnny Cash. It was certainly a bad year for the US. And you're right about the tinderbox.
2 people like this
@FourWalls (13680)
• United States
7 Apr
I never thought Johnny and Tommy looked a lot alike, but they certainly sounded a lot alike!
2 people like this
@FourWalls (13680)
• United States
7 Apr
@JudyEv — Tommy is eight years younger than Johnny.
2 people like this
@dgobucks226 (12080)
8 Apr
Turbulent times for sure!
2 people like this
• United States
7 Apr
my godmother was from arkansas-she told me stories of civil rights struggles..like getting hit by fire hoses..she said people often gave her more crap because she was mixed race (black/white/native)
2 people like this
@rebelann (41129)
• El Paso, Texas
6 Apr
You're right about all that, the 1960s wasn't a really great decade, in fact I can't think of any decade since that's been all that great, we fix one thingy only to have another thingy rear it's ugly head.
2 people like this
• United States
1 Jun
I remember it all, 50 years. Wow.
1 person likes this
@teamfreak16 (41149)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
1 Jun
No, it's awful right now. The intolerant racists are feeling very empowered these days.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
6 Apr
Ages since I have heard this song and I remember reading about what happened over there too. Great song as it says a lot. Thank you for sharing this one.
1 person likes this