1964 was important year

Published 12:51 am Saturday, February 8, 2014


After reading the column in the Andalusia Star-News (ASN) concerning the event that happened on Feb. 9, 1964, 50 years ago, I realized three things: (1) I’m now old; (2) 1964 is likely one of the most important years in U.S. history; and (3) Henry Ford’s quote in the 1930’s “experience (including history) is the one thing of supreme importance.”

Lme offer the following about 1964:

As mentioned in the ASN recent column, a group called “The Beatles” performed on the Ed Sullivan show on Feb 9th. Statistically, Elvis Presley may have sold more singles than the Beatles, but there is no doubt amongst music historians that the Beatles dominated 1964 and later years until even the present date, more so than any other band in history. I remember 16 years later, on my drive to high school, that I heard the news that John Lennon had died and therefore I would never be able to see the Beatles live. I pulled my car over and cried.

Atom bomb testing was at its highest peak ever in the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Arguably the greatest movie of all time, “Dr. Strangelove,” directed by Stanley Kubrick was released with Peter Sellers playing four characters and George C. Scott playing the role of the 4-star general advocating a preemptive nuclear attack on Russia.

On Feb. 25, 1964, Cassius Clay TKO’s Sonny Liston in the 7th round in the greatest fight in heavyweight history, beating 7-1 odds. A photo of the final punch is shown repeatedly in the current successful TV show “NCIS.” Later in 1964, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali, who lit the Olympic Torch in the 1996 Olympics. He was visibly sick with Parkinson’s. Since that timeframe, about 50 football players and boxers have donated their brains to examination after death, and the medical community has definitely correlated concussions to brain damage. The NFL now will not permit a player to play after a potential concussion without an independent expert clearing him to play. Neither the coaches nor the player involved has a say in this decision. Changes in high school sports policies are even more dramatic.

In April, I was born. I still have the hospital bill. The total hospital, anesthesia, drugs, and doctor charges for four days were $ 180.44. I think today that figure would be multiplied by about 100.

In June, warnings about adverse effects of smoking, including cancer, were placed on each cigarette package. In the subsequent 50 years, smoking has dropped by only about half (I think from 46 percent to about 22 percent), and is actually increasing in youngsters today. When I entered the workplace, smoking was allowed everywhere. Now, many states restrict smoking so much that I (even though I don’t smoke), I believe is a violation of the ideas summated in the Declaration of Independence.

In July, POTUS LBJ signed the massive Civil Rights and Voting acts, which were passed by a 73 percent margin in the Legislative Branch.

In November, the Atlanta Braves signed a 25-year lease to play in Fulton County Stadium, where Hank Aaron in 1974 hit HR 715. The exact spot where Aaron’s home run landed is still memorialized in a spot in the old Fulton County Stadium location that’s now a parking lot.

The famous Lee Iacocca produced the first Ford Mustang for sale, which became perhaps the most iconic car, other than the Ford Model T, ever produced.

Three Civil Rights workers, one Jewish, two black, are found dead in a pond, murdered by Mississippi police/KKK, somewhat accurately depicted in the 1998 Movie “Mississippi Burning” starring Gene Hackman.

On or about 1964, a person with 19 DUI’s faced less punishment for their 19th than a person with one DUI today.

Most importantly, two incidents occurred in the Gulf of Tomkin, and the U.S. Navy fired on North Vietnam. Although U.S. advisors had no doubt been sent in earlier, 1964 is pretty much recognized as the start of the Vietnam war, which ended some 10 years later to the shame of the U.S. and some 59,000 lives lost; whom are memorialized on the most visited site in our nation’s capital.