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7 Moments Boomers Will Always Remember

Seven enduring memories from our yearlong ‘Boomer History’ project:

Promised a T-shirt and a dollar for showing up, 5,000 fans greet the Beatles at New York’s JFK International Airport on Feb. 7, 1964. The following year, on Aug. 15, “arena rock” is born when a concert by the Fab Four draws more than 55,000 fans to Shea Stadium in Queens, N.Y.  But nothing lasts forever. Preparing to release a solo album in April 1970, Paul McCartney says that the Beatles are finished.

Beatles arrive at JFK New York in 1964

On March 7, 1965, a day that will become known as “Bloody Sunday,” some 600 civil rights protesters head out of Selma, Ala., for a 54-mile march to Montgomery. After just six blocks, lawmen attack them and drive them back into town. Marchers try again two days later and are turned back. A third march (below) is successfully completed March 25. A new film about the Selma march, directed by Ava DuVernay, opens in theaters Dec. 25, with David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King.

Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Selma March

On  May 6, 1981, a jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selects a design by Maya Lin, 21, for the  Vietnam Veterans Memorial over 1,420 other entries.


Apollo 11 carries the first humans to the moon. After descending to the surface with Buzz Aldrin in the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong takes that “one small step.” (Learn here why Buzz Aldrin is pictured below and there are no good photos of Neil Armstrong on the moon.)

Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon

Having already won the U.S. Amateur Championships in August, Arthur Ashe wins the men’s singles title at the U.S. Open tennis championships on Sept. 9, 1968. He’s the first black male to capture the Open and the only player to have won both titles the same year.

Arthur Ashe

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Two television shows that helped to define boomer childhood — Captain Kangaroo and The Mickey Mouse Club — premiere on the same day, Oct. 3, 1955. Bob Keeshan stars as Captain Kangaroo for nearly 30 years; the original Mickey Mouse Club, featuring Annette Funicello — who’d been discovered by Walt Disney when she was a 12-year-old dancer — lasts just four seasons. You can see Mickey and Minnie front and center at the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida, Oct. 1, 1971.

Disney World Florida

Hours after President John F. Kennedy is assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, Lyndon Baines Johnson is sworn in aboard Air Force One as the 36th president of the United States. Two days later, in the first live, televised murder,  Jack Ruby shoots Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s accused assassin, in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters.


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 Images: Beatles: AP; Martin Luther King Jr.: Morton Broffman/Getty Images; Vietnam Memorial: Hu Totya/Wikimedia; Apollo 11: NASA/Science Source/Getty Images; Arthur Ashe: Rob Bogaerts/Anefo/Wikimedia; Disney World: Yale Joel/LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images; Lyndon B. Johnson: National Archives/WikiMedia Commons

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