The Summer of ’69

It’s could have been what is happening in Gaza, maybe I heard Brian Adam’s “Summer of ’69” at the gym yesterday or maybe it was this weeks episode of NYMed. I am not sure exactly what stream of consciousness brought me to flash on memories of the New York bombing in the summer 1969.

I was but a little kid, but I remember my fear after seeing the news stories. I remember kids talking about it on the playground at kindergarten and adults not talking about it all when kids were around. I distinctly remember thinking that the bombings were in New York City and not on Long Island, where I was, so I was safe. I, like much of America was afraid that summer.

As I did some research last night, it turns out that today, coincidentally marks the 45th anniversary of the first of eight bombing starting with the United Fruit Company warehouse at the Grace Pier on the Hudson River. Samuel Melville was convicted of setting those bombs between July 27 and November 12. Melville was sentence to 13 to 18 years and was killed during the Attica prison riots 1971.   Could you imagine a guy blowing up 8 buildings including The Criminal Courts Building at 100 Centre Street and getting less than 20 years?

The New York Times reported that,

The 1969 bombings were part of a wave of similar episodes across the nation that spurred fear and anxiety. (One study found that from January 1969 to October 1970, there were about 370 bombings — most of them minor — in New York, an average of more than one every other day.

The hearing, part of an investigated led Senator John L. McClellan, Democrat of Arkansas, concluded that from January 1969 to April 1970, the United States sustained 4,330 bombings — 3,355 of them incendiary, 975 explosive — resulting in 43 deaths and $21.8 million in property damage. “

I remember my mom once told me that a bomb went off near her when she was getting out of a cab near Penn Station.  I didn’t want to believe her; I wanted her to be lying.

On this day there are more children living amid bombings.  All I can do today is send prayer out on their behalf and hope that they live lives where they just don’t remember or at best vaguely remember this horrible period in their history, the way I vaguely remember the New York bombings in mine.

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The Summer of ’69

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