Eight unforgettable ways 1968 made history

Updated 7:20 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
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Story highlights

1968 remains arguably the most historic year in modern American history

Revered leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated

North Korea captured a U.S. ship; Olympic athletes raised fists in Black Power salute

With the Apollo 8 mission, for the first time in history humans orbited the Moon

(CNN) —  

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.

Here are eight events that made history during that unforgettable year.

1. January 23: North Korea captures the USS Pueblo

When North Korea captured the American surveillance ship USS Pueblo, it sparked an 11-month crisis that threatened to worsen already high Cold War tensions in the region.

The trouble started with the Pueblo. It had been nearly 15 years since the Korean War between U.S.-led forces and the North. The Navy intelligence ship was monitoring North Korea from the Tsushima Strait, an ocean channel dividing Korea and Japan.

Related: Fast facts about the Korean War

The Navy said its ship was operating in international waters, but North Korea said the Pueblo had entered its territory, and dispatched warships and aircraft to intercept it. Accounts differ on both sides as to what really happened. Eventually, there was an exchange of gunfire. U.S. crewman Duane Hodges was killed.

The North Korean military boarded the Pueblo, captured its crew and brought the ship to port in North Korea.

The Pueblo’s 82 surviving crew members reported that while in custody, they were held at a POW camp where they were tortured and starved.

North Korea staged a news conference during which the crew was forced to applaud the N