Skip to comments.'64 copy of LIFE key to Kerry's '60s mindset
Posted on 08/17/2004 12:24:44 AM PDT by kattracks
It was just a chance encounter with a little piece of history.
LIFE Magazine, the Aug. 21, 1964, edition, just waiting to be snatched up at the Boston Public Library book sale.
Ah, the summer of '64! I would have called it an idyllic one - days at the beach (in pre-casino Atlantic City), nights listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra under the stars at Robin Hood Dell. The future filled with possibilities.
The pages of LIFE chronicled the fact that ``The Munsters'' was the TV hit of the year, the widowed Jackie Kennedy was vacationing in Europe and Chesterfields were marketed as ``a mild smoke'' for those who ``just don't like filters.''
But this wasn't one of those happy celeb-covered LIFE Magazines that made it so popular. No, the cover shot was of South Vietnamese General Khanh as he ``eyes the enemy.''
It marked the start of a decade-long war that would tear this nation apart and take the lives of more than 50,000 young Americans. Some of them would be my high school classmates. It was a war that would come back to haunt us even during the 2004 presidential race - as aging former swiftboat crews and captains refight its battles on the presidential stage.
But four decades ago was when it all began. And this is the way LIFE described it:
``Hard against the border of Communist North Vietnam, South Vietnam premier, General Khanh, stood watch as his troops threw up defenses against an invasion that could come at any minute. The move followed the first direct U.S. action against North Vietnam - an air strike that President Johnson ordered against North Vietnam's navy after torpedo boats twice attacked an American destroyer in the international waters of the Gulf of Tonkin.
``Thus did South Vietnam's jungle war against the Communist Vietcong take an ominous new turn.''
The Gulf of Tonkin incident led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in Congress on Aug. 7, 1964, which was as close as this nation ever got to a declaration of war against North Vietnam.
John Kerry [related, bio] was midway through his years at Yale. It would be more than four more years before he would begin his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam and nearly seven years until he would become the star of the anti-war protests on Capitol Hill.
And for those who like to draw comparisons with Iraq, imagine the timeline. A decade would separate the Tonkin Gulf incident and evacuation of the last Americans from Saigon. Today, not yet a year and a half from the start of the war that ousted Saddam Hussein, Iraq's own leaders attempt to forge a new democracy.
But John Kerry is caught in a time warp. A child of the '60s, he's still fighting that last war as he told us in his speech at the Democratic National Convention:
``I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: `I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice. We had to protect the American people . . . from a threat that was real and imminent.. . . this is the only justification for war.''
The world has changed, but not Kerry's '60s-era mindset. And that's about as close to today's truth as that old Chesterfield ad.
The pages of LIFE chronicled the fact that ``The Munsters'' was the TV hit of the year...
Hey, the Addams Family was no slouch in molding "Lurch" either...
BLAST FROM THE PAST!
time capsule..quick version...from DMarie:
Friday, August 21, 1964
Top News Headlines This Week:
Aug 22 - Guine, Liberia & Ivory Coast form joint market
Aug 22 - Supreme's "Where Did Our Love Go," reaches #1
Aug 23 - Marilynn Smith wins Albuquerque Professional Amateur Golf Tournament
Aug 23 - St Louis Cards are 11 games back in NL, & win the World Series
Aug 24 - 2nd Mayor's Trophy Game, Yanks beat Mets 6-4
Aug 25 - Singapore limits imports from Neth due to Indonesian aggression
Top Songs for 1964
The House of the Rising Sun by Animals
Can't Buy Me Love by Beatles
Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison
I Feel Fine by Beatles
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Beatles
She Loves You by Beatles
There! I've Said It Again by Bobby Vinton
Baby Love by Supremes
Chapel of Love by Dixie Cups
I Get Around by Beach Boys
1964 Prices US President
Bread: $0.21/loaf Lyndon B. Johnson
Milk: $1.06/gal US Vice President
Eggs: $0.98/doz No Vice President
US President-Lyndon B. Johnson
US Vice President- No Vice President
Academy Award Winners
Best Picture: My Fair Lady Directed By George Cukor
Best Actor: Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady
Best Actress: Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins
Avg Income: $7,336/yr
Min Wage: $1.25/hr
DOW Avg: 874
People born on August 21
1906 - William "Count" Basie jazz pianist
1936 - Wilt Chamberlain NBA great center (LA Laker, 5 time MVP)
1938 - Kenny Rogers singer (Lady) actor (Coward of the County)
On TV in 1964
The Addams Family
The Lawrence Welk Show
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Flipper
Hot New Toys in 1964
Gun That Shoots Around The Corner
Bobbing Head Beatles Dolls
Foto-Electric Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Addams Family "Thing" Bank
Easy Bake Oven
Agent Zero-M Invisible Ink Set
Mad Magazine Straight Jacket
Top Books in 1964
It's Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville
Why We Can't Wait, Martin Luther King by Jr.
Shadow and Act by Ralph Ellison
Check out the time capsule in post 6.
I just bought a dozen large eggs for $1.09
$20,000 for a house? I'm definitely living in the wrong decade. And you could get a new Cadillac for about six thousand dollars.
Man, I used to love these things!!!!
Who can knock a toy for kids involving a searing hot metal plate and boiling water!!
1915 S Blackburn St
ASKING $5,000 (.. $27 per month?? huh??)
Thanks for posting it.
It just reinforces the impression I already had of Senator Kerry.
Namely, that he is a 60s retread, unable or unwilling to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the pressing issues of the day head-on.
-good times, G.J.P. (Jr.)
#11- I have solved the issue of affordable housing... did you not see that?
I just thought that "Con. Guy" would be better equipped to handle this particular hot potato.
Possibly with a blistering satire of Southern mores.
I remember seeing gas for 11.9 cents/gallon during some of the price wars back then. Sure would be nice to have price wars again.
Makes we wish I had $5,000 to blow on luxury like that.
That trailer is a mansion for us po' Texans.
LOL! . . . Are you trying to keep us Californians outta Texas or sumptin'? I've been thinking of trying to talk my better half into moving there when we retire.
I want a trailer house in the country!! Can I borrow $5000?? =o)