It was the year I graduated from high school. It was also the year that Ted Bundy was first arrested, and the year that Glen Campbell released number one hit “Rhinestone Cowboy.” We all thought the coolest thing in technology was the introduction of Sony’s Betamax. Although the VCR was actually available in 1956, it cost fifty thousand dollars, so — obviously — we never really saw them until twenty years later.
In 1975 Nelson Rockefeller, as vice president, investigated the CIA. One of the things he found was that the CIA had over 300,000 illegal files on American citizens, and had been opening personal mail for over twenty years. Also revealed in this report was the widespread CIA participation in illegal wiretaps and break-ins.
We all got a thrill and got scared of the beach when Jaws was released. Who can forget the music and sound effects just before the Great White struck? Rubik’s Cube was released although it was originally named the “Magic Cube.” And Elton John was singing about “Philadelphia Freedom” on, believe it or not, Soul Train. Microsoft was founded and Saturday Night Live began. A lot was happening in 1975.
That year was the end of the longest economic recession since the Great Depression. Chrysler started giving ‘rebates’ on cars to help sales after the downturn, and they started building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Saigon fell in April to the North Vietnamese and the US conducted the largest helicopter evacuation in history. John Mitchell, John Ehrlichman, and H.R. Haldeman were sentenced to prison for their involvement in the Watergate scandal. The House of Representatives restored citizenship to General Robert. E. Lee from the Civil War.
I’ve always thought that 1975 was an exciting year personally, but it seems that it had so many changes that had far-reaching consequences. Some believe the United States today is in the most serious situation in history, with government corruption, social disarray, and some of the most divisive groups of people ever seen. As in 1975, we still have wars across the globe, government corruption, talk of pipelines, evacuation of American military as well as civilians, people singing of freedom, and economic recession. There are people discussing what happened in the Civil War and shark attacks. It seems the forces of good and evil are at battle and there is no way out. I think that the situation is basically the same now as it was back then. There are good people and there are bad people. The bad people are clever and determined to get their way at all costs. But there are just as many good people trying to make things right as bad people, and they are just as clever and just as determined. We made it through 1975 with some bruises and scars, and we will make it through the present day, too, as long as we stick together and work for what we know is right. We can stick to the truth and be brave enough to say it out loud. There may be some bruises along the way but we’ll make it, and as the number one song of 1975 says, “Love Will Keep Us Together.”