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1968: Protest and the Presidency. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 06, 2020 - 00:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we look at America we see cities enveloped smoke and flame. We hear sirens in the night. We see Americans dying on distant battlefields abroad. We see Americans hating each other, fighting each other killing each other at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Nixon, I'm going to sting you and sting you like a hornet day in and day out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got some difficult days ahead. But it really don't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountain top.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are prospects for peace in Vietnam, but no one knows when peace will come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 7 starts the final American push to the moon. They are on this flight with all but finish U.S. chances of reaching the moon by the end of next year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, we have ignition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the basis of a spectacular success of Apollo 7, it will be possible now for the next mission. That's Apollo 8. Three Americans in orbit around the moon on Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we have some late words just arriving and interrupt to bring this to you. This is the latest disclosure in the report from national civil defense headquarters in Washington. It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder.

NELSON GEORGE, AUTHOR: I saw "Night of the Living Dead" at a drive-in movie theater. And -- I mean, I'm sure there was zombie film before, but this is a zombie movie that creates new zombie movies.

RENEE GRAHAM, COLUMNIST, THE BOSTON GLOBE: It was so gritty, it was in black and white. There were no recognizable stars. And it was as terrifying a film as I'd ever seen.

GEORGE: And what the hell, the lead character is black, which was an unexpected political statement. GRAHAM: It's a really tense movie, because they're in this house hiding out from these zombies. And you get these sort of weird social dynamics that start going back and forth between the characters.


GRAHAM: I've never seen a film with a black man as the hero. He's the person who has the plan. He's the person who's going to save everyone. And then you get to the next morning and this character, Ben, is one of the last survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go and check out the house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's something there, I heard a noise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right man, hit him in the head, right between the eyes.

GRAHAM: This is six months after Martin Luther King is assassinated. And here you had this sort of another great black male hero, and he dies and gets shot as well. As a kid, I took it to me and he was killed because he was black. And that the hero can't survive if he's black.

GEORGE: It worked as a scary movie, it worked as a social commentary. On the idea of the lone black hero in this white world, it doesn't matter how noble you think you are, you're still a black guy.

HEYWOOD HALE BRAUN, CBS NEWS: All summer, for an assortment of reasons, a thunder of discontent has rumbled down the horizon of the 19th Olympiad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Olympic Games, live and in color from Mexico City. Another ABC sports exclusive, brought to you by the Ford Motor Company.

EDWIN NEWMAN, NBC NEWS: Mr. Edwards, I think it might help to illuminate your position if you explain your idea of the boycott of the Olympics.

Harry Edwards, civil rights activist: Well, I think first of all, we have to understand that the Olympic Games in this society and in the world is the second largest meeting of any nation at the international level outside of the United Nations itself, and it's just as political.

The Olympic Project for Human Rights, an effort to forge boycotts and demonstrations at the 1968 Mexico City Games was to protest racism and discrimination in the United States and in sports in particular.

TOMMIE SMITH, USA 200M SPRINTER: I can give you information as far as black athletes is concerned in Mexico City. All I can say is, you can expect almost anything.

GEORGE: John Carlos and Tommie Smith were sprinters that Harry knew from northern California, who were also very politically active on their own.


EDWARDS: There's no way you can really plan winning thing like this. Because first, you got to win. You got to make it to the podium. So this idea that somehow there was this huge plan, what there was, was an ongoing disposition and commitment to make a statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Olympic victory ceremony, 200 meters, men.

EDWARDS: John Carlos and Tommie Smith made it to the podium and both had the commitment and the courage to say before a hundred thousand plus people that we, too, are committed to the struggle. They raised their fists not in militant disrespect for the flag, but as a salute on behalf of all of the people who would never get to that station, never get to that podium to make a statement about human rights in this country.

CLAYBORNE CARSON, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: It was pretty courageous thing to do because they knew that that was probably going to be not just getting kicked out of the Olympics, but probably the end of their hope for a career in athletics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going, John?

CARLOS: We're going home.


CARLOS: Home, home.


EDWARDS: Tommy and John were banned from Olympic competition for life. The average person to this day does not understand the courage and the commitment that it took to do that.

HOWARD COSELL, ABC SPORTS: You understand that many white people in America don't agree with you, but there will be some backlash because of this, much backlash.

TOMMIE SMITH, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: To do something good, you will always -- someone will always find fault. So I was prepared for this also, Howard.

COSELL: Are you proud to be an American?

SMITH: I'm proud to be a Black American.



MIKE WALLACE, 60 MINUTES: In a year when most campaign talk has been deadly soporific, Wallace almost always manages to inject a special urgency and kind of drama into his television appearances. GEORGE WALLACE, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: I, again, say to the anarchism in this country, you had better have your day now because after November 5th, you are through in the United States. Thank you very much.

PAT BUCHANAN, NIXON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: In October, Wallace was at 21 percent. He had enlarged his constituency and widened his message. He began really to reach more and more of the folks in the north.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I rather vote for him than vote for Nixon or Humphrey because I don't like the two of them.

MICHAEL COHEN, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN MAELSTROM": Wallace by the (INAUDIBLE) has a major problem. He needs a vice presidential candidate and nobody wants the job. So first, his aides reached out to Happy Chandler who had been a commissioner of baseball and former governor of Kentucky, but they discover that Chandler is somewhat liberal on immigration issues, so that's not going to work.

RICK PERLSTEIN, AUTHOR, "NIXONLAND: So they go back to the drawing board, they consider Colonel Sanders, you know, the fried chicken guy.

DAN CARTER, AUTHOR, "THE POLITICS OF RAGE": He's a household name. So they actually contacted the colonel, who basically said, don't be a fool, I'm running a business. I'm not about to antagonize half of my customers here. So at that point, Wallace began talking about retired General Curtis LeMay.

WALLACE: I am proud and very proud to have as my running mate, a man of great courage, General Curtis E. LeMay.

COHEN: Curtis LeMay is this legendary figure in American military history. He was the general responsible for the firebombing of Japan during World War II, and he was an evangelist for nuclear power.

CURTIS LEMAY, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you very much, Governor. Thank you for your confidence in me.

COHEN: The night before this press conference, Wallace aides sit LeMay down and say, whatever happens, do not talk about nuclear weapons, don't talk about the efficacy of nuclear weapons. Just stay away from that. First question to LeMay was about nuclear weapons.

LEMAY: I think there are many occasions when it could be most efficient to use nuclear weapons.

CARTER: LeMay launches into this unbelievable defense of nuclear weapons.

LEMAY: It doesn't make much difference to me. If I have to go to war and get killed in the jungles of Vietnam with a rusty knife, or get killed with a nuclear weapon. As matter of fact, if I had the choice, I'd lean towards a nuclear weapon.

CARTER: Well, at that point, Wallace is about to have a nervous breakdown. BUCHANAN: LeMay went on and said we tested them out (INAUDIBLE). And a lot of the foliage is back and a lot of the animal life is back.

LEMAY: The rats out there are bigger, fatter, and healthier than they were before. So, taking a hissy look at these facts, it might come to the conclusion of put plenty some bombs on one place and you improve it.

BUCHANAN: He said the same crabs are a little hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General, we've got to go.

CARTER: It just turned out to be politically a disaster. And support for Wallace seemed to go downhill after that.

CHET HUNTLEY, NBC NEWS: The latest Harris poll released today shows that Hubert Humphrey has moved within five percentage points of Richard Nixon. Harris said that if Humphrey gains another two or three points on Nixon, the election could become too close to call.

JACK PERKINS, NBC NEWS: The last line of the speech he has prepared for the night says, well, it looks like we're going to win. Now that's a political line but the kind of line he could barely have read with a straight face a month ago.

MARK KURLANSKY, AUTHOR, "1968": Humphrey late in the election decided to stop being insipid. And actually get out there and be who he was which was kind of a battler.


HUBERT HUMPHREY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT NOMINEE: With Mr. Nixon, we're supposed to have this election in the bag. But ladies and gentlemen, when he opens that bag on November 5th, out will jump Humphrey and Muskie.

BUCHANAN: Hubert Humphrey gained 15 points and we gained nothing in that October. So all those Democratic votes were coming home, all right. They passed right by us and went to Hubert Humphrey.

JUDD ARNETT, DETROIT: I have no be of the opinion that we need to debate in this country. I think that you and Mr. Humphrey should get at Vietnam and some other questions --

WALLACE: Well I think Mr. Humphrey is having a great time debating himself.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: The conceit behind the new Nixon, was that that old, whiny, sad, combative loser is gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now despite numerous requests, NBC presents "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-in".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought that we could get Mr. Nixon to stand still for a sock it to me.


DAN RATHER, FMR. ANCHOR "CBS EVENING NEWS": The difference in the campaign was that whenever possible, the candidate is never in an environment that he can't control. The counsel to Richard Nixon was, don't leave script.

DOUGLAS KIKER, NBC NEWS: Nixon makes the same speech everywhere he goes, all candidates do that. But Nixon is speaking on the issues of the day and only the most general way. He's saying there are lots of things wrong with this country, and he's promising to do something about it. But he's not saying what.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Time will not permit an extended discussion of those great problems in which you're all interested. But my friends, I say to you, let's enlist the people of America, enlist their hearts and their minds in the handling of the problems of America.

America became great not because of what government did for people but because of what people did for themselves. That is the way to move.

JEFF GREENFIELD, JOURNALIST: In Hockey there's a term about if you have a one goal lead, you go into a shell. You just pass the puck back and forth. You don't rush and you just play -- you play defense. So Nixon basically went into a shell.

HUMPHREY: Richard the careful, Richard so careful today that he won't say anything about anything to anybody at any time. Either he evades and straddles every major issue. I'm going to send him some kind of talcum powder. He must be getting saddle sore straddling all those issues.

BUCHANAN: Humphrey was on the move, he had excitement and energy. It was Richard the chicken-hearted, he was attacking us. And we were doing the same thing we had done in September. I told Nixon, you've got to attack Humphrey. We can't let him bring the party together.

If they get together, we lose the battle.

FRANK REYNOLDS, ABC NEWS: As the big day draws nearer, and the polls show Hubert Humphrey drawing closer. The ice water generally believed to flow through Richard Nixon's veins, maybe melting, and may indeed be nearing the boiling point.



DAVID BURRINGTON, NBC NEWS: George Wallace's spirits appear to be sagging. For several days, he'd run into overwhelming protests. And he was shouted down in El Paso.

MICHAEL COHEN, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN MAELSTROM": Wallace was a very effective demagogue, he knew how to get a crowd, energized and knew how to get them angry. He knew how to get them violent and often that was the goal. The more people saw violence, the more they would say we need somebody who can stop this fight.

WALLACE: If you want to stop all this nonsense, you just vote for me November 5th, and I'll --

COHEN: But as time went on, people began to say, well maybe shut the person to stop because he's the person actually was making it happen in the first place.

WALLACE: Now, I don't mind speaking here, but when you start throwing rocks that size -- who threw it? That's all right. Go ahead and throw another one.

CARTER: By this time, I think he is frustrated, angry. Wallace was more and more in fights with his campaign staff, who told him over and over again, I know that you see yourself as a national candidate. But the strategy is to throw this election in the House of Representatives.

You're not going to win. We need to be campaigning in Florida, Virginia, Texas. His ego wouldn't allow it. And one of his last major rallies was in New York City.

WALLACE: I'm sure the "New York Times" took note of the reception that we received here in the great city of New York.

CARTER: He speaks to a packed crowd, the largest political gathering in Madison Square Garden's history. But outside, it's ugly.

CHARLES MURPHY, ABC NEWS: George Wallace brought his campaign to New York tonight and all of the hostility and anger that have built up around this campaign spilled into these streets.

JOHN LAURENCE, CBS NEWS: These were the anarchists to whom the candidate frequently referred, as he is a man who arouses emotional extreme, love and hate and passion. Those among the 15,000 who are allowed inside appeared to have decided already to vote for Wallace.

WALLACE: Don't worry about what the newspapers say about us. They can fool some of the people some of the time, but they can't fool all the people all of the time. You remember that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now here is Frank Reynolds.

REYNOLDS: Good evening, in the words of an American spokesman at the Paris Peace Talks, there was nothing encouraging in today's session with the North Vietnamese.

WALTER CRONKITE, CBS NEWS: There were a lot of words the session lasted two and a half hours but like the others before it, it ended without any visible sign of progress toward peace.

RATHER: Lyndon Johnson was trying, trying, trying to get the North Vietnamese negotiating table.


He thought, if I can do this, not only will tarnish my own legacy, but that'll help Hubert Humphrey tremendously.

HOWARD K. SMITH, ABC NEWS: North Vietnam's top negotiators Xuan Thuy said there'll be no breakthrough in the peace talks until the bombing has stopped unconditionally.

MARK BOWDEN, AUTHOR, "HUE 1968": The United States had, in fact, dropped more bombs on North Vietnam and in South Vietnam than they had used in the entire World War II.

LIEN-HANG NGUYEN, AUTHOR, "HANOI'S WAR": The North Vietnamese would not engage in negotiations until the United States ceased all bombing of North Vietnam.

REYNOLDS: For the last two weeks rumors of an imminent breakthrough to peace have swept the world. But there has been no official announcement by this country until the one the President is about to make right now.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have now ordered that all air naval and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam ceased.

ROBERT PIERPOINT, CBS NEWS: There are going to be a great many people in this country who are going to speculate about the fact that the President has managed to bring all this about just five days before the election.

BUCHANAN: Johnson circled bombing halt was clearly designed to push Humphrey over the top. My view was it was a political ploy.

PERLSTEIN: If the Democrats managed to settle the war by Election Day, the election is over. Richard Nixon has no chance at all. And he responds with a very radical maneuver.

NAFTALI: Nixon tells his team to use a woman named Anna Chennault to monkey wrench the negotiations in Paris.

JOHN A. FARRELL, AUTHOR, "RICHARD NIXON THE LIFE": Anna Chennault, a Republican fundraiser and a member of Nixon's campaign is telling Saigon, stay away from Paris, stay away from the peace talks. And you'll get a better deal if Nixon is elected.

NIXON: As a presidential candidate and my vice presidential running mate joins me on this, neither he nor I will say anything that might destroy the chance to have peace. We want peace above politics in America.

JOHNSON: I really think it's a little dirty pool for Dick's people to be messing with the South Vietnamese ambassador and carrying messages around the both of them and I don't think that people would approve of it if it were known. And he better keep Mrs. Chennault and all this crowd just tied up for a few days.

NGUYEN: LBJ feels confident to move forward. The condition that North Vietnam had always asked for has now been met. And so for Party Peace Talks are imminent, they will happen.

Well, in Saigon, in November 1st, President too stands up on the dais and drops this major bombshell.


NGUYEN: South Vietnam with deep personal events (ph) cannot participate in the negotiations.

THIEU: I think it's enough. I have no more thing to tell to you.

BILL BRANNIGAN, ABC NEWS: Embarrassment is coming today among Americans here in Vietnam, particularly those of us who have acquaintances among the Vietnamese. We find ourselves apologizing, apologizing for what may be one of the biggest diplomatic blunders in U.S. history.

BUCHANAN: Once we heard the South Vietnamese were not aboard, I said, Let this play out. Because when this South Vietnam thing breaks, it's going to look like Johnson didn't have all his ducks in a row. And this is political as it can be.

NIXON: I think President Johnson went into this bombing clause with the very best of intentions. I think, however, the reason that the ducks were not in a row was that he was relying on an old team, a team of well-intentioned men but they're tired. I think that what we need is a new team, a new team that won't make these mistakes.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Election Night '68, reporting from election headquarters, Walter Cronkite.

WALTER CRONKITE, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. We may be here for a very long night tonight. It's been one of the roughest, roughest and unhappiest political years in American history. In the next few hours or for as long as it takes, we'll see how it all turned out.

JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN: This was one of those special elections where many voters felt that the direction of the country was really at stake. We're talking about big issues of war and peace, of race relations. People are watching with bated breath to see how this is going to unfold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nixon was asked about a last-minute poll showing Humphrey slightly ahead and he said "I don't consider that reliable."

BUCHANAN: We're down three in the Harris Poll, which he said to me we're going to lose the election. And Nixon said, OK. There's no reaction whatsoever, but I was very pessimistic. My hands broke out in hives.

DWIGHT CHAPIN, AIDE TO RICHARD NIXON: Everyone was just trying to contain their anxieties and excitement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody, by this time, is exhausted. We've been going at this since January. You're kind of spent, to put it mildly, so you just have to keep the adrenaline going, and the candidate has to keep it together.

CRONKITE: Richard Nixon will win Colorado.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Hubert Humphrey, according to the CBS News, estimates has carried Michigan.

CRONKITE: Nixon will carry Wyoming as anticipated.

CHET HUNTLEY, NBC NEWS: The winner in Mississippi will be Wallace.

CRONKITE: Wallace will win in Louisiana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was a problem for us. He's a terrible problem, because there are about five southern states that Wallace would take. We would have carried those states.

CARTER: Wallace realized that he had slipped a good bit from where he had been. He still had hopes that he might be able to throw it into the House of Representatives.

DOUGLAS KIKER, NBC NEWS: If he comes in second, if the election ends in a three-way deadlock if he shows substantial strength outside the south. So far as Wallace is concern, any of these things would prove his case and be a victory of sorts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here's the electoral votes, the ones that still count under our archaic system.

CRONKITE: If none of three men get 270 electoral votes then the matter goes to the House of Representatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before this night is over, we should know whether we have indeed chosen a president or whether our electoral system has led us into a major constitutional and political crisis.


DAVID BRINKEY, NBC NEWS: The unbelievable messiness of what happens if no one wins an electoral vote is almost indescribable. It would take an hour to describe it, and no one would understand it, including me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An hour to describe it and four years to straighten it out.

BRINKEY: Yes, yes. This may be the last year for the Electoral College. It might be a good idea if it is.

HOWARD SMITH, ABC NEWS: In the race for the presidency of the United States, Hubert Humphrey has taken a lead for the first time tonight.

LOU CIOFFI, ABC NEWS: Howard, I can't tell you very much. I'm in the middle of the darnedest jam I've seen for a long time. And it's indicative of what's happened in this campaign. Hubert Humphrey a month ago, a sure loser, and today has all the earmarks of a sure winner. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone who goes to bed without knowing a little bit more about what's going on in the Midwest tonight could be in for a shock in the morning.

EVAN THOMAS, AUTHOR, "BRING NIXON": By midnight, Nixon thinks, oh, my god, it's happening again. It looks like it's going down to Illinois.

JOHN FARRELL, AUTHOR, "RICHARD NIXON: THE LIFE": And at that point, Pat Nixon went into the bathroom and threw up, because she had been there in 1960, and here it was happening again.

GENE BARRY, ANCHOR: I think before the morning is out, Hubert Humphrey will be next president of the United States.

H. SMITH: Good morning, or if you've stayed through the night with us, hello once more.

CRONKITE: With the 26th electoral votes in Illinois. Richard Nixon goes over the top with 287 electoral votes, and that seems to be the 1968 election.

HUNTLEY: Nixon is the one. That's the natural banner for any sprightly front page tonight. There are the numbers. In short, Nixon and Humphrey are separated by about 375,000 of 1 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ABC, was the first thing I saw -- where it checked Nixon is the winner. And I went immediately into the bedroom where Nixon was propped up with his briefcase on his lap, and I said, sir, you've just been declared the winner. He jumped out of bed, looks at the set. And everybody is cheering and congratulating one another.

BUCHANAN: It was vindication, validation, everything he had dreamed of.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the greatest comeback in political history and nobody could believe it.

BRINKLEY: Nixon declined to claim victory, even though it was his, until Humphrey had conceded, and a little afternoon today, Humphrey did, with tears in his eyes.

HUBERT HUMPHREY, 1968 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I never had any doubt but it would be a close fight. Come see, come saw, you know, one way, it bounced an a little one way, it bounced a little another. We've got a president-elect. He's going to have my help. Cheers.

RATHER: I think the problem with the Humphrey campaign was that it was built on sinking sand from the beginning. And that is the old democratic coalition, which no longer exists, and Hubert Humphrey tried to win with it one more time, and he fell short.

Because Richard Nixon won in 1968, politicians in almost every level, including the presidential level. After that, I said, OK, this is the new campaign model.

JOSEPH BENTI, CBS NEWS: He put together an effective television campaign. He put together planned rallies where no opposition was ever in evidence. He controlled his campaign from beginning to end, and that to me is the significant thing. If he won by one vote or 10,000 or 100,000, he won.

RICK PERLSTEIN, AUTHOR, "NIXONLAND": the basic appeal of Richard Nixon in 1968 is reaction. It's reaction to a world that seems to have gone mad.

BUCHANAN: Nixon was inheriting a nation which was bitterly and permanently, it turns out, divided over the war in Vietnam, over issues of race, over issues of culture, over issues of morality. I think he really thought he could bring the country together.

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Some public men are destined to be loved, and other public men are destined to be disliked. But the most important thing about a public man is not whether he's loved or disliked, but whether he's respected, and I hope to restore respect to the presidency.



TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Going to see "2001: The Space Odyssey" for me was almost a spiritual experience. It reshaped my concept of cinematic art in 15 minutes.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN: There'd been for a long time, science fiction visionaries like HG Wells and Jules Verne imagining what going to the moon was like, but nobody had seen a film like Kubrick's masterpiece, and it made us question not just space exploration but what is the human dilemma? What does this mean about us?

NAFTALI: Many Americans didn't want cultural comfort food anymore. They actually wanted something challenging. It's like going to a fine art museum where the viewer projects on abstract art what he or she wants to see there. But it's not usually a recipe for a successful film, and yet it was popular.


DAVE: Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.


RENEE GRAHAM, COLUMNIST, THE BOSTON GLOBE: We're getting into what they were calling then the computer age. And "2001" looks at, well, what if the machine turns on us, it looks at the anxiety, these underlying fears that we have about the way the world is changing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before I say grace today, I would like for us to pause for a moment of silence in memory of our friends that were lost this morning. Let us pray.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alpha Company had three men killed and three others wounded in the battle just ended. Instead of turkey dinner for 150, there will be just 144.

COL. MYRON C. HARRINGTON JR., RETIRED USMC: The experience of missing holidays while you're in a combat zone, of course, weighs heavily on you. It's a time where you get nostalgic. Tears come to your eyes, and you envisioned all things good and beautiful back in the world, because you wanted to remind yourself that there was another world, and that you were going to get there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess on a day like this, you really have something to be thankful for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do. I really have something to be thankful for, that I'm still alive. I'm doing my best to stay alive for the next few days.

PHILIP CAPUTO, AUTHOR, "A RUMOR OF WAR": There was no way to gauge progress in anything like the classical sense of the term. The only gauge of progress was how many enemy were killed in a particular day or week or month as compared to how many of us.

And they start to ask, well, lieutenant, what the hell are we doing here? The only thing I could say at that time, I said we're marines, we're professional soldiers. We fight the enemy they tell us to fight, and we fight for each other.

You know that if you have to, you really will lay down your life for these guys. And that, that they'll do the same for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold it up and spread it out.

KARL MARLANTES, AUTHOR, "What It Is Like To Go To War": At some point you start to wonder, what is this all about? I didn't quite get it. We're not moving forward. I mean, we'd go to the same place sometimes, the same tour. It'd be like, we were here three months ago. It just started to not make sense.

ELVIS PRESLEY, SINGER: Uh-huh. How many uh-huhs do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elvis Presley.

YOHURU WILLIAMS, HISTORIAN: Elvis had really fallen out of the public eye after 1960, when he mustered out of the army. And although he's still making movies, he's become a little caricature because the movies themselves aren't very good. He is not making music. And a new younger hipper sound is coming with the British invasion.

PRESLEY: It's been a long time.

GRAHAM: At the end of the year, you get Elvis on the stage with a group of musicians from the '50s, doing his stripped-down versions of "Heartbreak Hotel", "Love Me Tender." And suddenly, the world falls in love with Elvis again. JEFF GREENFIELD, JOURNALIST: In the wake of what follows him, suddenly the symbol of all that is decadent becomes a symbol of an older, gentler America.

GRAHAM: It's Elvis unplugged. Elvis wasn't like that before, and he'll never be like that again. But for that moment, you understand the magnetism, the charm and the real raw talent of Elvis Presley.

PRESLEY: There must be lights burning brighter, somewhere --

WILLIAMS: What's most memorable for me about that special, though, is the song that Elvis will end with, and it's a song penned by Walter Brown for Elvis in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. King. And it's about Elvis sharing the dream that men can one day walk together in brotherhood.

PRESLEY: Out there in the dark, there's a bright burning candle --

DAVID WILD, WRITER, ROLLING STONE: Elvis is one of the greatest vehicles for a song in history, but because he wasn't a writer, he was very dependent on what he was handed. And in that case, he was handed a song worthy of him and a sentiment worthy of him.

He reclaims his soul in 1968. It wasn't just a comeback special because he'd been away. It was a comeback special because he reasserted who he was.



HARRY REASONER, 60 MINUTES: Every Christmas Eve is for some people, the first Christmas without someone who was around last year. But every Christmas Eve is for some people the first Christmas with someone who was not around last year. For Ethel Kennedy and her family, this is both kinds of Christmas.

Last week she brought home Rory Kennedy, born six months after her father died.

MIKE WALLACE, 60 MINUTES: Will this be, can this be a happy Christmas in the King household?

CORETTA SCOTT KING, WIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Christmas will be sad for us as it will be for many people I think this year. A time like this causes people to really reflect on the deeper meaning of say Christmas.

RATHER: As the country moved into December, what a year it's been, one of the most dramatic and consequential years in history. But out there, up there, is the great dream of putting a man on the moon.

CRONKITE: Six-and-a- half years ago, John F. Kennedy set this nation on a course towards the moon. This morning three Americans, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders are on the verge of the greatest adventure, in which man has ever embarked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The engines arise. Four, three, two, one, zero. We have liftoff.


CRONKITE: And there's the rumble in our building, but what a beautiful flight. Man perhaps on the way to the moon if all continues to go well.

RATHER: It seemed almost unbelievable, the nation collectively held its breath worrying about are they going to make it, what happens to the astronauts, what happens to the space program if they don't. Such a miraculous thing is against the odds but maybe, maybe we can make it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, (inaudible), we have a good picture.

FRANK BORMAN, ASTRONAUT: And it's coming to you personally halfway between the moon and the earth. We have about less than 48 hours left to go to the moon.

ANDREW CHAIKIN, AUTHOR, "A MAN ON THE MOON": They actually arrived at the moon on Christmas Eve. And in order to get into lunar orbit, they have to fire the engine on the far side of the moon where there's no radio contact with mission control.

JULES BERGMAN, ABC NEWS: Apollo 8 will be facing backwards on a breaking maneuver. That engine burn will actually slow them down from 5,700 to about 3,700 miles an hour. They'll have put themselves into lunar orbit, the first men in history to have done so, and the trickiest and most dangerous part of their flight.

CHAIKIN: You could have any one of a number of things go wrong, end up in the wrong orbit, hit the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One minute to LOF, all systems go.

HANKS: You have to have absolute faith in every thing that has ever been done to develop this rocket motor. All they can do is point it in the right direction and press a button, and hope that it works perfectly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 8, Houston over.

JIM LOVELL, ASTRONAUT: Go ahead, this is Apollo 8.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got it. We've got it. Apollo 8 now in lunar orbit. There's a cheer in this room.

JIM LOVELL, ASTRONAUT: (Inaudible) I'm here in the moon. It's awe- inspiring and makes you realize just what you have back there on earth.

CHAIKIN: When they were coming around the far side of the moon, Bill Anders looked through his side window and saw the earth rising. WILLIAM ANDERS, ASTRONAUT: Oh, god, look at that picture over there. There's the earth coming up, wow. That's great.

CHAIKIN: And he snapped a picture.

RATHER: When the picture started coming back, the earth from that distance, the sense of Americans deepened, the sense of how great the cosmos, how small we are, how fragile the earth is, all of those things began to bounce around like electricity in your brain and touch a very special part in your heart.

FRANK REYNOLDS, ABC NEWS: Tonight, the crew of Apollo 8 presents a Christmas Eve program from the heavens.

CHAIKIN: With a few orbits to go, they made one last television transmission. The public affairs director had said, there's going to be more people watching that television show than have ever witnessed any event in human history. Say something appropriate.

ANDERS: For all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 had a message that we would like to send to you. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

HANKS: To have the guys reading Genesis was so spot on. Whatever your concept of God was, the earth is a beautiful creation.

ANDERS: Good night, good luck and Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.

REYNOLDS: God bless them, unbelievable.

HANKS: Man, that made the last week of 1968 perhaps as hopeful a moment as we could have expected.

RATHER: For those of us who lived through that time, we were reminded that darkness does not last.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 8, human kind's first flight into the orbit of the moon, an event sure to be written larger on the books of history than almost any our generation has seen. A year of trouble and turbulence, anger and assassination is now coming to an end in incandescent triumph.

Apollo 8 achieved everyone of its major mission aims and something else. It lifted the spirits of earthbound mortals and carried them, too, but only for a while out of their own horizons. Let there be light in the firmament of the heaven, said Genesis.