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.
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.
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.
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 bars because he defiantly insisted on composing verses that irreverently criticized his nation's authoritarian regime.
Search AARP Blogs