We were the last high school class to graduate in the 1960s, on the cusp of a new decade.
The United States had been entrenched in the controversial war in Vietnam throughout our time in high school, and protests were frequently in the headlines. We’d mourned the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy but also saw the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Our high school years also brought 1967’s “Summer of Love,” the first Super Bowl, and the formation of PBS.
Our graduation year was an incredibly eventful one. Arguably the most momentous event was the first moon landing, where millions around the world were glued to their televisions and heard Neil Armstrong’s famous utterance: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” On a darker note, the horrific Manson Family murders and the Stonewall riots also took place in 1969. But this year also brought the first U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam.
On the culture scene, 1969 was the year of Woodstock, the Beatles’ last public performance (and the recording of their last album), the premieres of Sesame Street and The Brady Bunch, and the installation of the country’s first ATM.