top events of 1968

After reading through newspaper articles for the year 1968, I realized that the year was quite an eventful one. Politically, socially and economically speaking, the country endured a great deal of influential circumstances. Although the studying of vast articles from the New York Times succeeded in painting a clear, factual picture of that turbulent year, I was still eager to discover how incidents affected people growing up in that era. This fueled my motivation to begin the interviewing process, and to choose participants. In the end, I decided to interview my father, Mr. John Arthur Bartle, and a friend of my mother’s, Mrs. Linda Pacelli. Although both came from completely different backgrounds, and both have differing views, their stories and descriptions were equally fascinating.
Since I grew up with both my parents, I assumed that I knew a great deal about my father, John Bartle. I could not have been more wrong! I had heard stories about his being in the United States Airforce, but I never knew the governing factors surrounding them. It turns out that in 1968, my father, age twenty-two, was stationed in Spain. Apparently, he had enlisted in the Airforce because he was about to be drafted, and he claimed, “There was no way in hell I was going to Vietnam.” He said he had even considered running to Canada. Much to my surprise, my father revealed that he had been part of the counterculture during that time, and also vehemently opposed the war. I could not quite picture my father that way, for today he fits the description of a hard-working, clean-cut, rigid, white-collared father of three. My father was interesting to interview since he was overseas for 1968, and learned of all American events second hand.
My interview with Linda Pacelli showed a sharp contrast with that of my father’s. Linda, nineteen years old at the time, was attending St. Lawrence University during the year of 1968. She also worked in New York City during her breaks from school for Seventeen Magazine as an editor. She was very much aware of current events, and unlike my father, did not see eye-to-eye with the counterculture or the anti-war movement. She described 1968 as very “trying” time. She told me that people, including herself, began to see that society as an imperfect institution. Linda proved to be an interesting person to speak with and to interview, because she was so aware of what was happening around her, and truly cared about it.
During the 1960’s, the Vietnam War gripped the Nation, as well as the world. Specifically in 1968, the war continued, and many were praying for the end. Linda remembered several terrible, graphic pictures in the newspapers. She reminisced of being under the impression that the United States was getting “clobbered," and that we were becoming the victims of many counterattacks. My father, although reluctant to speak about the war at all, revealed the same sort of memories as did Linda. He also added information on a more personal note about friends of his that had been sent over. Both Linda and my father became upset when asked to recall events from the Vietnam War, and both claimed that everyone was looking for an end. Linda remembered specifically instances where Johnson would predict victory, but it never came. This followed closely what I learned about the war in newspaper articles. Still, it was somewhat eerie to converse with people who lived during the time the war took place, instead of just hearing about it. According to articles and popular opinion, it was, “The war that couldn’t be won.” It was obvious that it had been a terrifying ordeal for the nation to be involved in, and that it still affects people today.
The capturing of the intelligence ship, the Pueblo, was another unfortunate event in 1968. My father said that he felt terrible for the guys, because he could “relate to their situation.” Also, he was disturbed by how North Koreans were treating the crew. Linda knew even more about the situation, because she had read a book by Lloyd Bucher. This book told the story of the incidents onboard the Pueblo. Linda found the whole situation both tragic