Here’s a look back at 1969, a year packed with pivotal events — including a few that inspired recent stamp releases.
1. We said hello to one president and goodbye to two others. Richard Nixon was sworn in as president Jan. 20, succeeding Lyndon Johnson. Dwight Eisenhower, who served as president from 1953-1961, died March 28. All three presidents were featured on stamps after their deaths.
2. A river in Ohio burned. The heavily polluted Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire on June 22. While this wasn’t the first time this river had been on fire, the incident is credited as helping to pass the Clean Water Act and create the Environmental Protection Agency.
3. A riot ignited the LGBT rights movement. In the early morning hours of June 28, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar that catered to a gay clientele in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. The customers fought back, resisting arrest. A crowd gathered outside the bar, and began protesting the raid and attacking the police officers. An even larger crowd returned the next night for a second protest.
4. The first men landed on the moon. The Apollo 11 mission culminated on July 20, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong left the module and stepped onto the moon’s surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT. He was followed a few minutes later by pilot Buzz Aldrin.
5. A cultist became a household name. Four members of a cult led by Charles Manson invaded the Los Angeles home of actress Sharon Tate sometime around midnight on Aug. 8. They killed Tate, who was pregnant, along with four other people. The next night, six cult members, along with Manson, invaded the home of supermarket chain owner Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, killing them both. The deaths and subsequent trial made international headlines.
6. There was a concert in a big, muddy field. A music festival billed as “3 Days of Peace & Music” was held Aug. 15-18 on a 600-acre farm near Bethel, NY. Despite the rain, it attracted about 500,000 event-goers and 32 musical acts. Now known as “Woodstock,” the festival is regarded as a pivotal moment in rock music history and a touchstone for the 1960s counterculture movement.
7. They showed us the money. On Sept. 2, Chemical Bank installed the first automated teller machine — ATM — in the United States at its branch in Rockville Centre, NY. Called a “Docuteller” at the time, the machine dispensed a fixed amount of cash when a customer inserted a specially coded card.
8. Two TV shows debuted that still air today. Viewers met the mystery-solving teens from “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” on Sept. 13 and the Muppets and their human friends who live on “Sesame Street” on Nov. 10. Other TV moments: The original “Star Trek” series aired its final episode June 3, while “The Brady Bunch” debuted Sept. 26.
9. The first message over a computer network was sent. On Oct. 29, a student at the University of California Los Angeles sent the letters “L” and “O” from his computer to a computer at the Stanford Research Institute over the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the forerunner of the internet. He had intended to send the word “login,” but his computer crashed after the first two letters.