Terrible Events of the 1960's
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Terrible Events of the 1960's

The decade of the 60's not only harvested a new generation of hopeful youth, but a string of unfortunate, terrible events. Many new agers believed the 60's were a time of peace, and they should have been, but many of the terrible events during the 60's overshadowed the positive reforms and movements gaining ground.

The decade of the 60's not only harvested a new generation of hopeful youth, but a string of unfortunate, terrible events. Many new agers believed this was supposed to be a time for peace, and it should have been. But for many, it was a decade of death.

JKF Murdered

During the 1960's, JFK was the voice of reason, a shining beacon of hope of what we could accomplish. However, animalistic instinct drew one man into utter disarray. On November 22, 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was "shot once in the back, once in the neck and was killed with a final shot to the head by Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the schoolbook depository from which the shots were suspected to have been fired".

Several months ago, I toured the SAM 26000 at the Presidential Hanger at Wright Patterson National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. SAM 26000 flew Kennedy to Dallas, Texas, where he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. The same airplane he arrived in carried his body back to Washington, DC. 

Civil Rights Activists Murdered

Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner

James Cheney

When the movie Mississippi Burning came out, I never realized that the beginning scene was a reenactment of Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Cheney's death. The murders happened near Philadelphia, during the Freedom Summer of 1964, by the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, the news was reporting hundreds dead in Vietnam. Black civil rights activists confronted the racist South, and they were met with a grueling death and beatings.

War in Vietnam

Image © Forgotten Heroes

In 1964, the North Vietnamese and a major American naval vessel engaged in a conflict called the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In response, the United States Congress gave President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to send American troops to Vietnam. The American military’s goal was to provide enough military support to South Vietnam to stop Viet Cong aggression and prevent the spread of communism in Vietnam during the war. Though the American military gradually increased its troop presence, the Vietnam War did not progress as the American government anticipated.

Kent State Murders


On May 4, 1970 four unarmed Kent State University students were murdered by members of the Ohio National Guard . "The Guardsmen shot into the crowd 67 times for 13 seconds, wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis."

Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy Murdered

Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, and June 5, 1968, Bobby Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. He died 26 hours later. Both men defended integration and equality for all Americans.

Charles Manson

The terror of the 60’s continued with Charles Manson. Manson was a dead head and ex-con, and he believed that there was to be an apocalyptic race war, which he appropriately named 'Helter Skelter". The Manson Family was instructed by Manson to carried out all of the murders. The most iconic of those murders was of actress Sharon Tate, wife of Roman Polanski. Juan Flynn, a Spahn Ranch worker who had become associated with Manson and the Family, said:“Charles Manson got away with everything. People will say, 'He's in jail.' But Charlie is exactly where he wants to be.”

The Zodiac Killer

 At the end of the decade, a new breed of killer was on the loose. The Zodiac killer was never found, and the lack of evidence is of no help to investigators. All that has been preserved are three coded letters providing cryptic clues into the past of a man that was seeking God-like power. At least that is what the media portrayed, and that is what he wanted. He was quoted as saying "I will be reborn in paradise. Those I have killed will become my slaves". The last conformed death was on October 11, 1969. Interestingly enough, one victim survived describing his chilling appearance. He wore a square hooded suit with the zodiac symbol in the middle of his chest. 

A Decade Tainted By Terrible Events

I can't say I was part of the 60's, nor do I have a special connection to the historical events. Yet, individuals like my parents lived this decade. According to them, the 60's were a time of contemplation and global awareness. A time of love and acepptance, and a time when transcendence thru drug use was the only way for people to escape the politics of goverment.

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Comments (7)

Great history...Thanks for sharing!

Ranked #8 in History


Thanks so much for commenting.

Ranked #80 in History

I was born in the 60's, and even though many of these events were centered around America (and I am not American) I do recall hearing about them. Most of these events shaped American culture. For sure the loss of JFK was the saddest because I think he would have cleaned up a lot of the corruption in the USA, I beleive he was one of the people who warned the public against the development of big banks that are so much the problem of modern times.

Ranked #8 in History


I remember reading about his views on big business. He was supporter of Marx I believe.

Heather Ann Witt

And still it continues

The 60's gave us so much sadness. Excellent article Lauren! Bless you, Chris

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