The year was 1969 and America was embroiled in the Vietnam War. The new president, Richard M. Nixon, calls for a “peace with honor” as a divided U.S. sees a year of anti-war demonstrations, including the “Mobilization” demonstration in Washington, D.C., where it is estimated that over 250,000 people gathered, making it the largest anti-war protest in U.S. history.
In another large gathering (one that turned out to be larger than expected), over 500,000 fans turned up in an alfalfa field in upstate New York to hear music from Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and other famous acts from the â€˜60s in a three-day concert known as the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Images of the concert live on in a host of websites including this one containing QuickTime video clips.
A much smaller group made history as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon through NASAâ€™s Apollo space program.Â The world was captivated as these space pioneers took that â€œone small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.â€ Later that year, thousands of people would line up at the Smithsonian Institute to see the exhibit of moon rocks that the astronauts brought back with them.
There was more technological pioneering going on as computers in UCLA and Stanford universities connected online in a networking experiment known as ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet.
Technology couldnâ€™t stop Mother Nature though, and disaster struck on August 17 as the category 5 Hurricane Camille made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.Â The storm brought devastation as it made its way from the Gulf Coast, northeast through Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
By 1968, there were over 200 million television sets around the world, 78 million in the U.S. alone, and in 1969, viewers were able to see images from all of these events from their homes. The space landing on the moon was viewed by over 94% of homes in the U.S. and had 600 million viewers around the world.
Television programming in 1969 included the premieres of Sesame Street, The Brady Bunch, Monty Pythonâ€™s Flying Circus, Scooby-Doo, Where are You!, Room 222, and Marcus Welby.Â Movies that year included Hello Dolly, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,Â Paint Your Wagon, Easy Rider,Â and Midnight Cowboy.
In the world of music, 1969 marked a beginning for the rock band Led Zeppelin as they released their first album, self-titled Led Zeppelin. They would go on to sell over 200 million albums worldwide.Â It also marked an ending as the Beatles, recorded their last album together, Abbey Road.
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