This Week in Boomer History: Iran Hostages ... Berlin Wall Falls

George W. Bush and Bill Clinton

Notable events from our shared experience

Democrat Bill Clinton is elected the 42nd president — and first boomer president — of the United States on Nov. 3, 1992. Republican George W. Bush becomes the second boomer president in an election held Nov. 7, 2000, and settled by the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 12.

Young Islamic revolutionaries overrun the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, and take 63 Americans hostage; soon, three others at the Iranian Foreign Ministry are also held. Fourteen hostages are freed within a year; after 444 days of captivity, the remaining 52 are released moments after Ronald Reagan takes the presidential oath on Jan. 20, 1981.

>> Boomer Memories That Take You Back In Time

On Nov. 7, 1991, Los Angeles Lakers basketball superstar Magic Johnson announces, “Because of the HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today.” He returns to basketball as part of the Olympic “Dream Team” in 1992 and plays again in the NBA in 1996. Johnson today remains a staunch advocate for HIV education.

HBO launches its cable television programming Nov. 8, 1972. The premiere broadcast: Sometimes a Great Notion, a film based on Ken Kesey’s novel and starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda.

Twenty-one-year-old Berkeley dropout Jann S. Wenner and music critic Ralph J. Gleason publish the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine on Nov. 9, 1967. Wenner says the name is taken from three sources: the Muddy Waters blues song “Rollin’ Stone,” the band the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”

On Nov. 7, 1989, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia becomes the first black person elected governor of any state. There was one previous black governor: With Louisiana’s governor impeached in 1872, Lt. Gov. P.B.S. Pinchback was sworn in for 15 days.

Twenty-eight years after construction, the Berlin Wall is breached on Nov. 9, 1989. The fall of the literal and symbolic dividing line between East and West foreshadowed the end of the Soviet empire.

Fall of Berlin Wall in 1989


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Photos — Presidents: White House photo Eric Draper; Berlin Wall: Lionel Cironneau/AP

Audio — Test Drive: Zapac via ccMixter

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