The CBS Sunday Morning program featured the 50 Year birth of Intel (the company with the chip that changed the world). Who would have known that something so small, would have such a large impact on today’s world. But it did. Two middle-aged engineers Gordon Moore and and Bob Noyce got together and ushered in the era of fast, ubiquitous electronics and in July of 1968, Intel was incorporated. I consider that one, of the few good things from that year.
This is a picture of the company’s oldest plants in Portland Oregon which shows what a chip plant looks like today. And they still wear Bunny Suits to keep the contamination down to the minimum.
I remember the shocking events of 1968 more, because I lived through them. I remember that year, being the year that Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. His voice was silenced but not stopped. Now every year we hear his I have a Dream speech: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a Nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content for their character”. Unfortunately the dream has not been realized yet.
Dr. King felt that something might happen when he delivered this sermon. “We got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. I’ve seen the Promise Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight , that we, as a people will get to the Promise Land”.
The following photo features the other history maker of 1968. President Lyndon B. Johnson was the president during the Tet Offensive in which 216 American troops were killed and 1,300 were wounded in a 26 day battle for Hue Vietnam. Robert Kennedy also featured in the photo was going to run for President but he was also assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angles California.
Journalist Pete Hamill said that Kennedy’s assassination was more than what happened, but what could have been. He called it a LOST. CBS reporter Jim Axelrod asked what lost? And Jim answer, “the lost of what could have been: Hope, instead of despair”. Even the story of Bobby Kennedy was a tale of transformation during those troubling times because he went from hard-charging law-and-order to social justice warrior.
In many Black households back in the day, there were three photo of warriors who left here too soon; Martin Luther King , John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. In the photo below is Sen. Robert F. Kennedy with Marian Edelman as they were visiting an unidentified woman in Greenville Mississippi during an investigating of poverty in the Mississippi Delta in 1967. A portrait of his brother hangs on the wall. .
I remember the year 1968 mostly as the year I graduated from high school. I got a full time job (second shift) on the auto assembly line in Detroit MI during my last semester of high school, and still managed to graduate on time. It was not easy, but I did it. As a results, I learned that, I wanted do do more than work like a machine on the line. To escape the assembly line, I joined the military line, so I could use the GI Bill and get a better position off the line. The Vietnam War was hot and heavy and my classmates were being drafted right and left.
If I was going to the war, it was going to be on the flight line, so I joined the Air Force. After basic training, advanced training and my first state side assignment, I was shipped off to Libya North Africa to assist in the Air Base closure there. By the time I got to Germany I had heard so much about the war (from the Air Force guys that came back) I was almost ready to go. I wouldn’t mind being on a large Air Force Base in a combat zone, but by then, they were only accepting airmen in special forces units.
In a war zone, anything can happen, even on a large Air Force Base but they were going to need me as a generator operator, out in the boonies (in the middle of nowhere). If I wanted to see that kind of action I would have signed up for an Army Airborne unit. So I didn’t sign up for a “Red Horse Airborne Civil Engineer Squadron” assignment.
Ten years later (1978) the story continues. I finally graduate from college using the GI Bill and become an Army Quartermaster Officer where I supported Special Forces at Fort Bragg North Carolina, the Home of XVIII Airborne Corps.
Life is strange and you never know how things will turn out. In 1967 I was home along when the Detroit Riots started. I saw 82nd Airborne Troops rolling down Detroit streets in trucks and armored personnel carriers. But because I didn’t do anything stupid like get arrested or shot I was able to joint the military the next year. The numbers are still astounding 2,000 buildings were destroyed, 7,200 people were arrested 1,100 people were injured and 43 people were killed within a five or six day event. It wasn’t until I went home for a visit and saw the movie (Detroit 1967) and read the newspapers as to why thing happened the way they did.