Published: 1969
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
FEMALE FIGHTERS. North Vietnam: In a small village near the Ben-Hai river, which separates North Vietnam from the South, one of the coastal batteries is operated entirely by Vietnamese girls 10/31/1969. The original village was completely demolished by napalm bombs, rockets and shells fired from United States Naval forces. Thirty-seven girls pledged to take revenge and now man four 85mm guns which so far have already hit four U.S. destroyers and set one on fire. (Photo from Soviet source) (UPI Photo)

Announcer: 1969 was a year of airplane hijacks, most of them to Cuba. Over 50 times, planes have been diverted to a destination other than the one they started out for. But the most unique, and certainly the most dramatic hijack, took place, appropriately enough, on Halloween 22,000 feet above Fresno, California.

Captain Donald Cook: "At approximately 1:45 after departing Los Angeles about 15 minutes after we took off, the cockpit door was opened by a key, and a young man entered holding a cut-down version of a military carbine pointed at one of the hostesses. He told us that he wanted to go to New York. We advised him we didn't have enough fuel to go to New York, and at the very beginning he was quite nervous and insistent that we ï?½ that he knew that the range of the airplane was enough to go to New York. So we finally convinced him and calmed him down."

Announcer: That was TWA pilot Donald Cook, Captain of Flight 85. For 17 hours, he did not give the orders. After hop-scotching across the country from California with stops in Denver, New York and Bangor, Maine, the hijacker said he wanted to go to Europe. So to Europe he went: first, Shannon, Ireland; then the final destination, Rome, where he was captured.

The hijacker was a 19-year-old AWOL Marine who was born in Italy. He wanted to go back home. He is now in a Rome jail awaiting a decision on who will try him, Italy or the United States.

Natural disasters took their toll in lives and damage. The worst floods in 32 years hit California: 92 died, and property damage was estimated at $56 million.

Hurricane Camille demolished the Gulf Coast. It claimed over 300 lives and damaged $1.4 billion worth of property.

The joke at first was "Spiro who?" Well, in 1969, they knew.

Spiro T. Agnew: "It appears that by slaughtering a sacred cow, I triggered a holy war.

"I have no regrets. I do not intend to repudiate my belief, recant my words or run and hide."

Announcer: The Vice-President of the United States, Spiro T. Agnew. He made many speeches in 1969, one in Des Moines, Iowa attacked television-network news.

Spiro T. Agnew: "'Networks,' he stated, 'which are few in number have a virtual monopoly of the whole medium of communication. The newspapers of mass circulation have no monopoly on the medium of print.' Now, 'a virtual monopoly of the whole medium of communication' is not something that democratic people should widely ignore, and we are not gonna cut off our television sets and listen to the phonograph, just because the airways belong to the networks. They don't. They belong to the people."

Announcer: The networks quickly rushed to their own defense. Here is Julian Goodman, President of the NBC Television Network.

Julian Goodman: "Vice-President Agnew's attack on television news is an appeal to prejudice. More importantly, Mr. Agnew uses the influence of his high office to criticize the way a Government-licensed news medium covers the activities of the Government itself. Any fair-minded viewer knows that television networks are not devoted to putting across a single point of view, but that they present all significant views on issues of importance. It is regrettable that the Vice-President of the United States would deny to television freedom of the press."

Announcer: One weekend in August, a 20-acre cornfield in New York State was filled with a crush of humanity. It was called the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

For 3 days 300,000 youngsters swayed to the beat of rock music; some smoked pot openly, some tripped with hallucinogenic drugs. But contrary to predictions, under the most trying conditions they existed together without one major incident of crime or violence.

Unknown Speaker: "Right now we've had more people here at one time in three days, four days, than I think we've had in the history of the town of Bethel. The people, the kids, are very nice, very polite; they're very well-mannered, we haven't had a bit of trouble with them. They are a fine bunch of people; it's utter chaos. That's exactly what it is. I've never seen so many cars in my life, and so many people; it's amazing. These kids are the greatest kids I ever met, they're all wonderful! I never seen anything like it. If a car runs out of gas, they just lean against it and push it ahead of them; that's all they do. I don't know what they call themselves; they all got different kind of costumes on and some of 'em look weird and some of 'em look good, doesn't make much difference; but they all behaved themselves."

Announcer: So it was in Woodstock, New York; Prague, Czechoslovakia; Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Vietnam; on the moon and outer space. So it was in 1969.

You've been listening to 1969 in Review. This program was produced by Stan Sabik, Technical Director was Frank Shortino and I'm Ed Karrens. 1969 in Review was a production of the Audio Network of United Press International.