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Significant Events

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Significant Events
Lauren Smith
4 March 2012

Significant Events
The social, economic and political events in the United States throughout the years have shaped the way we live today. After World War II and up until the 1990’s, the United States has gone through major tragedies, schools and jobs have integrated, and President’s have been assassinated.

1950’s
Central High School in Little Rock, AK, forced to integrate became known as the little rock 9. September 20, 1957, Judge Ronald N. Davies granted the NAACP lawyers, Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton the right to stop governor Faubus from using the National Guard to stop the nine black students from entering the high school. After finally agreeing to not use the National Guard, he wished the students would stay away until integration could occur without violence. He knew there would be violence African Americans in their school.
September 23, 1957 the nine black students were off to school. Being smart, they went in through the rear so they could avoid as many conflicts as possible. White mobs joined together to protest the new students while reporters met to support the black students. All of the white mobs went crazy when they finally heard that the new students were in their high school. The nine black students actually exited out the rear of the building the minute the mobs came so they would not get hurt.
The following day President Eisenhower actually sent the 101st Airborne Division so the students would finish their education. Each student had their own patroller but whites still hurt the black students. Melba Patillo was stabbed in the hallway and had acid sprayed in her eyes. If it weren’t for her patroller pouring water in her eyes right away, she would have been blind the rest of her life. A few weeks later the patrollers were relieved of their body guard duties and the students were left to watch over themselves. Christmas break came soon after and the nine black students could not have been any happier. One student by the name of Minnijean Brown was actually suspended for sticking up for herself while the white students were looked up to for bullying.
Segregationists in Arkansas wanted to stop the other schools from doing what theirs was. School boards asked for an injunction delaying integration until 1961. This notion was granted at first but the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals said no to the injunction in August 1958 and told Little Rock that they must integrate. Through the integration, parents were also dealing with a lot of stress other than worrying about their children. Parents were forced to resign from their jobs or fired because of what was going on in the school.
Integration was very important at the time and actually allowed the United Stated to be where it is today. Many people are kind and friendly to other races and not much discrimination goes on at schools. Though many do not realize it, this event actually had a huge impact on the Civil Rights Movement. It proved that blacks could fight for their rights and win while also bringing the idea of segregation to the forefront of people’s minds. These nine courageous students have shaped the way we live today, and though we have come a long way since then, the United States still has ways to go.

1960’s
On November 22, 1963, the 35th President Mr. John F. Kennedy was assassinated while going on a ten mile motorcade through Dallas, Texas. First lady and husband along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife were all in the Lincoln convertible when the President was shot as they passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m. The man allegedly blamed for this fired his gun 3 times from the 6th floor. He fatally wounded President Kennedy and seriously injured Governor Connally. Thirty minutes later at Dallas Parkland Hospital, John. F. Kennedy was pronounced dead at the age of 46. November 25 hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy’s body from the Capitol Rotunda to Saint Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral for a requiem mass. The solemn procession then continued to Arlington National Cemetery where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. He was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his window to forever mark the grave. To this day a controversy still arises from this tragedy. People question whether it truly was the man blamed or if he wrongfully took the blame for something he was completely innocent about. No one in today’s society will ever receive the truth about it but it was a huge event in the 1950’s. It still impacts today’s society because it is still talked about constantly for people to reveal the truth.

1970’s The Vietnam War was part of the cold war era and lasted from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975. Though 1968 is when the involvement from the United States was at its peak, all United States military involvement ended on August 15, 1973 due to the Case-Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress. This war was fought between North Vietnam who were known as the communists and South Vietnam who were known as the Non-communists. North Vietnam was supported by China and Russia whereas the U.S., France and other allies supported South Vietnam. The war truly affected everyone in the United States. Since only middle class men and lower classes were the ones mainly in the war, the upper-class men felt guilty and referred to the war as immoral. This war caused student unrest to take off and due to that, it soon became publically known due to media attention. It also spread beyond the students to the general populations. Even the people who disagreed with the students were unhappy with the government for allowing the disruptions. In 1975, when all of the U.S. troops were withdrawn from the war, the U.S. was affected both politically and socially. Though the Vietnam War is not one of the most popular ones to talk about it should be world known that this was the war fought by the working class. This war cost America both innocent lives and money resulting in taxpayers paying nearly $150 billion. Serving in this war was over 2 million men and women in which 58,000 of them were killed while the ones who returned home were disabled. All of the Veterans became ignored, shunned or even discriminated against by both the public and the government. Though the Vietnam War is not publically known like the others, it cost the United States many of things. Many innocent lives as well as billions of dollars were wasted for this war while many people lost their jobs. It’s an important fact in today’s society because it was a war and has shaped our military to be much better planned for a tragedy such as war.

1980’s January 28, 1986, the United States Space Program suffered their worst accident ever. On this day a Space Shuttle known as the Challenger exploded only 73 seconds after liftoff. All seven of the passengers were killed instantly. Lifting off from Cape Canaveral, an explosion of this mission caused NASA to suspend all shuttle flights for two years. This mission was highly publicized due to the new program they released. On this mission were not only NASA employees but also a high school teacher who was chosen out of more than 11,000 applicants. This program was referred to as TISP which stood for Teachers in Space Program. This was the first time in history that NASA was allowing a civilian in space let alone a school teacher. This mission was plagued with problems right from the start. Liftoff of the Space Shuttle Challenger Mission 51-L was initially scheduled for takeoff on January 22, 1986 at 3:43 p.m. The liftoff slipped to January 23 then to January 24 due to delays in mission 61-C. It finally reset for January 25 because of bad weather at Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Dakar, Senegal. Again postponed for one day when launch processing was unable to meet new morning liftoff time. Predicted bad weather caused the launch to be rescheduled for 9:37 a.m. January 27 but got delayed another 24 hours when ground servicing equipment hatch closing fixtures could not be removed. On the 28, the liftoff was delayed two more hours finally lifting off at 11:38 a.m. only to explode 73 seconds later killing all seven crew members. NASA has never seen another tragedy such as this one and everyone will always remember the huge tragedy of a space shuttle exploding on live television. Since this was publically known due to the new program they were introducing, NASA really wanted to impress the citizens. When it exploded, NASA ensured they would keep all employees safe and inspect all other shuttles thoroughly before letting another liftoff. It still impacts the world today because NASA is world known.

1990’s April 20, 1999 a school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado left twelve students, two shooters, and one teacher dead with another 23 wounded. This is known as the fourth deadliest school massacre in United States history. This school shooting has a link between bullying and school violence. It has attracted increasing attention since the ’99 rampage. Both of the shooters were classified as gifted children and had been victims of bullying for years. This day began like any other but at 11:10 a.m. two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, arrived at the school. These two had been planning for weeks how to go about it and had searched on the internet how to make propane bombs. They were planning on killing as many people as possible with the timed bombs and then were going to shoot any of the survivors. On this day, there were 488 students in the cafeteria and that is where the bombs were to be set off at 11:15 a.m. When the bombs did not go off, the shooters just started shooting people and at 12:08 p.m., they took their own lives. Many of the students believed that this was only a joke, so they did not immediately react to the situation by fleeing the scene. This will forever be in people’s minds especially since it was a school shooting and that is where children are meant to be the safest. No parent ever expects to get a call saying their child has been murdered let alone at school. This is forever going to be a part of history and since it is the fourth largest school massacre, it will always be talked about.

The Next Ten Years Though the United States has had many rough occasions throughout the years, we have not seen the end of them. I’m sure within the next few years, we will see our economic, social and political fields vary drastically. Our economic could crash or have a huge boom, but that all begins with government and how they choose to handle it. Our social fields are always going to have the upper, middle and lower class titles, but people in them could vary. If our economic booms, then people in each class could move up the line and show that they can make a better life. Our political fields need to get younger, more up to date people in their so they can turn our country around. By having younger people, we could have fresh ideas on how to go about changing things. Nothing is going to be easy about it, but it’s all worth a try.

References
Challenge Disaster - A NASA Tragedy. (2012). Retrieved from http://space.about.com/cs/challenger/a/challenger.htm
Columbine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://vanessawest.tripod.com/columbine-4.html
Galiano, A. (n.d.). Little Rock Central High. Retrieved from http://littlerock.about.com/cs/centralhigh/a/Integration.htm
Galiano, A. (n.d.). Little Rock Nine. Retrieved from http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112391/little_rock_nine.htm
Jon F. Kennedy Assassinated. (1996-2012). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/john-f-kennedy-assassinated
Rosenberg, J. (2012). Columbine Massacre. Retrieved from http://history1900s.about.com/od/famouscrimesscandals/a/columbine.htm
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. (2000 - 2012). Retrieved from http://www.aerospaceguide.net/spaceshuttle/challenger_disaster.html
The J.F.K. Assassination. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.maryferrell.org/wiki/index.php/JFK_Assassination…...

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