I’m not a regular player in the “Ten on Tuesday” game, but this week’s topic is a good one. So, just like Sarah, I plundered the Internet to find some tidbits of intrigue from my birth year. And, just like Sarah said, I don’t remember any of these things actually happening, though many of them affected me and helped form the person I am.
1. Pink Floyd releases The Dark Side of the Moon. (March 1)
One of my favorite albums of all time, really turned me on to both prog rock as a teen and the lyrics (written by Roger Waters when he was 29) are wise beyond their years. I can’t wait for the immersion version box set of this album to come out later this month, because it should sound lovely and provide a ton of excellent live tracks and outtakes.
2. Supreme Court rules on Roe v. Wade. (January 22)
I’m a firm believer in the rights of women to have the final say on all of their healthcare choices. As a man, I have no right to tell a woman what she can or can’t do with her own body. Abortion should be safe, legal and rare.
3. President Nixon suspends all U.S. military operations in Vietnam. (January 15)
This senseless war had deep impact on my teenage years, as the baby boomers started to make sense of its aftermath via movies. And the anti-war protest songs make up a great deal of my favorite songs of all time. Less than a month after Nixon ended operations, the first POWs were released.
4. The World Trade Center opens in New York City. (April 4)
We all know the fate of these twin towers. But on this day, they were a symbol of new optimism in a world that was just getting its global trade system back in order after World Ward II. (Note: just one month later, the Sears Tower opened in Chicago, beating the WTC for right to “world’s tallest building.”)
5. Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball. (April 6)
Worst. rule. change. ever. Thanks for nothing, George Steinbrenner. The DH was brought about as a way to try and drum up fan support for MLB. Unfortunately, it ended up contributing to pitchers who are as wide as they are tall, with precious few skills other than throwing a ball. Thank goodness the National League hasn’t fallen for the DH (save for spring training and inter-league play at AL ballparks).
6. Skylab is launched. (May 14)
As a kid (and heck, even now) I was a huge fan of outer space, NASA, astronauts and everything associated with them. Skylab paved the way for the Space Shuttle and in the International Space Station – not a bad track record for a flawed space station. The Skylab exhibit at National Air and Space Museum is one of my favorites.
7. Secretariat wins the Triple Crown. (June 9)
The horse that many consider the greatest of all time won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes in 1973. Sure, I’m not a big fan of horse racing, but it’s still quite the achievement for a young horse.
8. Gen. Augusto Pinochet leads successful U.S.-backed military coup in Chile. (September 11)
Proof positive that, throughout the years, the United States isn’t always on the “right side” of history.
9. Nixon orders the “Saturday Night Massacre.” (October 20)
Sure, there were plenty of Watergate moments I could have chosen in 1973. But this one is the first one that raised calls for Nixon’s impeachment. I mean, on November 17 he famously proclaimed, “I am not a crook!”
10. The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from DSM-II. (December 15)
One of the landmark decisions in the ongoing quest for recognition of and equality for the LGBT population of the United States – and an appropriate ending to this list, given today is the day that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” finally became history.