Wednesday, March 05, 2008

40 years ago

(An occasional reminiscence on the events of 1968)

March was a quiet month for me, as I continued to work at the Washington Post’s promotions department, cutting up news clippings and pasting them into contest entry books.
But it was a month of heroes and strife around the world.

Over the weekend of March 2-3, there were constant meetings at the home of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in suburban Virginia to discuss the ramifications of a possible run for president. From Jack Newfield’s book, Robert Kennedy, A Memoir:
The weekend….was an almost continuous meeting of Kennedy’s informal cabinet….there were long distance phone calls, and rotating participants, with Ted Kennedy, Kenneth O’Donnell, and Fred Dutton…Jesse Unruh told them that a new California poll showed Kennedy with 42 percent, Johnson with 32…McCarthy with 18…by this point Kennedy finally understood that running and losing would be less painful than not running and contributing to Johnson’s renomination….

In Poland, a Mar. 2 condemnation by the Writers’ Union over the banning of a play would escalate into a student protest on Mar. 8, and more and more protests against the Soviet-controlled Communist government that year.

On March 4, in Atlanta, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. announced the final plans for a Poor People’s Campaign, which would march to Washington, DC, in April. The New York Times said "For the first time he decisively linked its antidiscrimination and antipoverty objectives to a campaign to end the war in Vietnam."

Top 10 songs in Canada, March 4:
1.Love Is Blue Paul Mauriat
2.The Unicorn The Irish Rovers
3.Carpet Man The Fifth Dimension
4.(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay Otis Redding
5.Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) Manfred Mann
6.Brown-Eyed Handsome Man Jerry Jaye
7.Just For Tonight The Chiffons
8.Walk Away Renee The Four Tops
9.The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde Georgie Fame
10.Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) Kenny Rogers

(That sounds about right for the soundtrack of that month. I can hear it now....)

On March 6, the attacking forces around the embattled Khe Sanh marine base suddenly disappeared into the surrounding jungle.

On March 7, the “Battle of Saigon” ended.

On March 9, General William Westmoreland asked for over 200,000 more troops in Vietnam.

On March 10, Bobby Kennedy went to California to join Cesar Chavez’ farm workers campaign. Cesar Chavez, who had been fasting for 25 days, broke his fast at a Mass attended by 8000. Kennedy called Chavez "one of the heroic figures of our time."

On March 11, the U.S. military launched sweeps against the remaining Viet Cong forces around Saigon and other areas.



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