As we remember that Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago and that the war in Afghanistan goes on, we should remember the Fall of Saigon, 1975.
I was a new military member with less than a year in service, serving at my first location after training. My thoughts were still bright with American Exceptionalism. Gerald Ford, the only man never elected to be POTUS or Vice POTUS, was President, fall out from Spiro T. Agnew's resignation and then Richard Nixon's resignation after that mother of all gates, Watergate.
While all that was happening, my biggest memory of that time was Operation Babylift and the C5 crashing, killing everyone onboard. That was big news at our Command Post at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, home of AF Logistics Command.
My father had given me a green 1965 Mercury Comet four door sedan with a sweet 289 two years before but I replaced that with the first car I ever bought, a 1968 Camaro RS with a 327. I paid $1200 for it. That car, with a three speed auto, was a blast to drive.
That's not my car shown. My Camaro was copper with a black vinyl top and black ralley stripes.
On the music scene was BJ Thomas singing hey, won't you play, another somebody done somebody wrong song. I remember that song but remember BJ more for Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid a few years before. There was a lot of memorable music out then, as the sixties era rock was fading and 70s disco was rising. The late Minnie Ripperton of the amazing high note was singing Loving You, the Doobie Brothers had Black Water playing, and America was singing Lonely People (thanks Billboard's Top 100). LaBelle was rising with Lady Marmalade and Joe Cocker was choking out You Are So Beautiful.
I was reading Arthur C. Clark's Rendezvous With Ramas among other books. Jaws the novel was pretty dominant then and we were looking forward to Jaws, the movie. Godfather, Part 2, had just won six Academy Awards.
Look how young Al Pacino looks. He was on a role, going from The Godfather to Scarecrow to Serpico to Godfather Part 2 to one of my favorite movies later in 1975, Dog Day Afternoon.
The Korean War continued on CBS's MASH on television as did The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Barny Miller, featuring Hal Linden, Abe Vigoda, and Steve Landesberg's dry delivery was just storming the tube. Bell bottoms were still big, and those wearing them in the military looked a bit silly with their wide bottom legs and short military haircuts. My Pittsburgh Steelers had just won their first SuperBowl when they beat the Minnesota Vikings in IX.
A gallon of regular gas cost 44 cents, which outraged Mom. I married for the first time later that year. So far, it's my only time, knock on wood.
All in all, a hell of a year. Aren't they all?
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com