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

pilot Francis Gary PowersThe 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 April 29, 1968. New to Broadway: full frontal nudity and a soft rock score.

Kent State shooting Four dead in Ohio: National Guardsmen fire on Vietnam War protesters at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

The Vietnam War ends when Saigon surrenders on April 30, 1975. The last American to leave the besieged U.S. Embassy is Marine Master Sgt. John J. Valdez.

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Internet historians lament May 1, 1978, as the birthday of spam. Gary Thuerk, a marketer for the Digital Equipment Corp., sends a message about the company’s computers to 400 of the 2,600 people on the forerunner of today’s World Wide Web.

Responding to the decreasing popularity of rail travel, Congress in 1970 establishes the National Railroad Passenger Corp. to take over intercity passenger rail service. Amtrak begins service on May 1, 1971, serving 43 states with a total of 21 routes.

Amtrak Metroclub Breakfast stub from 1970s

On the Amtrak Metroliner in the 1970s, an omelet and a Bloody Mary cost less than $5.


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Credits – Francis Gary Powers: Russia International News Agency via Wikipedia; Kent State: John Filo/Getty Images; Metroclub receipt: Amtrak


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