This Week in Boomer History: Medgar Evers … Pentagon Papers … ‘Hee Haw’

On June 9, 1969, the U.S. Senate confirms President Richard Nixon’s choice of Warren E. Burger to succeed Earl Warren as chief justice of the United States. Though generally conservative, Burger will vote in favor of school busing and abortion rights, and will write the court’s unanimous decision upholding a subpoena for the Watergate tapes. Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc immolates himself on a Saigon street on June 11, 1963, in protest against the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. After losing President …

This Week in Boomer History: Kent State … ‘Hair’ … Spam … Amtrak

The Soviets bring down a CIA U-2 spy plane on May 1, 1960, intensifying the Cold War. Captured in Russia, pilot Francis Gary Powers is interrogated for more than a hundred days and imprisoned for nearly two years. The first Target discount store opens in Roseville, Minn., on May 1, 1962, growing into an enterprise that generates about $3 billion of net income in 2013. This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius when the musical Hair opens on Broadway …

Did You Welcome Home the Troops 40 Years Ago?

Forty years ago today, the last American combat troops left Vietnam. The events of that day aren’t imprinted on the national consciousness, as are images of overloaded helicopters taking off from Saigon. That evacuation of American personnel and Vietnamese refugees happened two years later, in 1975. Today’s anniversary brings up an embarrassing and troubling set of emotions for some of us who questioned the war long ago. According to the Associated Press, “Forty years ago, soldiers returning from Vietnam were …

On Recent Wars, a Surprising Generation Gap

Have older Americans turned peacenik? Americans 50 and older believe the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam wars were all mistakes, according to a new Gallup poll. Some highlights: Iraq. A mistake, according to 57 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 59 percent of those 65 and older. Only 50 percent of younger adults thought so. Afghanistan. This war, which began shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was seen as a mistake by those 50 and older but not by those under …

George McGovern: 5 Things You May Not Know About Him

Sen. George S. McGovern is remembered mostly as an opponent of the Vietnam War and as the ill-fated Democratic presidential nominee in 1972. After a campaign marred by mishaps - from an out-of-control national party convention schedule to revelations that his vice presidential pick, Thomas Eagleton, had been treated for clinical depression – McGovern suffered one of the worst landslide losses in history to incumbent Richard Nixon. But that one spectacular failure belies a lifetime of achievements. McGovern, who passed away …

Nguyen Chi Thien: ‘The Solzhenitsyn of Vietnam’

In the United States, freedom of speech – even the most outrageously shocking speech – is a cherished right, though most of us probably aren’t quick to think of poetry as a form of speech that needs protecting. It’s been a long, long time since anyone tried to put an American in jail for publishing a poem. That may make it hard for us to truly appreciate the artistic bravery of Nguyen Chi Thien, who spent nearly a quarter century behind …