CNN Original Series: "The Sixties" explores the landmark era of cultural, political, and technological change during the 1960s, infusing new relevance to the cultural touchstones that changed the world.
The Vietnam War began in the decade before, butthe conflict, and especially U.S. involvement, escalated in the 1960s. For the first time, Americans witnessed the horrors of war, played out on television screens in their living rooms.
Here's a dirty little secret about the civil rights movement: A lot of Americans just don't want to hear about it anymore. The result? We treat the movement like broccoli: It's good for us, we're told, but we shove it aside on our plates when no one is looking.
Back in July 1969, I stood on the talcum-like lunar dust just a few feet from our home away from home, Eagle, the lunar module that transported Neil Armstrong and me to the bleak, crater-pocked moonscape.
1968 was a year of triumphs and tragedies. While America reached new heights by introducing the first 747 and orbiting the moon, all was not well down on Earth. The United States lost a Navy intelligence ship and two proponents of peace -- the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.
When Betty Draper of "Mad Men" lit a cigarette on her son's school bus during a class trip, I cracked up. After all, the prospect of a 2014 mom smoking around her child's classmates is about as likely as teens giving up their smartphones.
When I started college in 1962, even among college students in New York -- again, as far as I could tell -- sex was no more than, at the most, occasional. By 1966, it was commonplace, and by 1969, it was like shaking hands and saying, "How do you do?"