It’s no wonder that 1963 saw the introduction of the sedative commonly known as Valium. Those Americans who weren’t experimenting with the myriad of recreational drugs — a hallmark of the hippie generation, probably needed sedation, especially if they had any inkling of the history that would unfold that year.
Musically, a culture clash unfolded in a departure from the crooning likes of singers like Tony Bennett and Bobby Vinton to the folk rock tunes of Peter, Paul and Mary, the rising popularity of the Beach Boys and the invasion of the British history-makers, The Beatles.
The beehive hairdo for women marked one “in look,” while the long-haired, flower and headband laden coiffés of the hippies shook the foundations of what was right or proper.
Civil rights protests marked the American landscape. In spring of 1963 civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech before 250,000 at the March on Washington.
It was November 22, 1963 though, that marked a new political direction for the United States.
Just a few days later, many Americans witnessed the live television broadcast of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accuser killer of President Kennedy.
Bearing in mind that I was slightly older than two, I nevertheless recall the relative household silence and the boredom I had the day of President Kennedy’s funeral. I suspect that day my parents were too absorbed in the national tragedy to cater to my every childlike whim. I was too young to understand the gravity, but deep down, I understood it was a bad day.