1982 – The Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC is dedicated

A three-part memorial located in Washington DC, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial consists of three parts.

The largest is the Memorial Wall, on which the names of more than 50,000 men and woman who died or went missing in action are listed chronologically in order of death, from 1955 to 1975. The other two are a sculpture called The Three Soldiers and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.

The memorial was opened in 1982, and represented an important milestone in America’s long healing process after the chaos and death of the Vietnam War. It remains a popular tourist attraction today.

Referenced in:

Civil War — Guns and Roses

1963 — U.S. President John F Kennedy is assassinated

One of the defining events of its era, the assassination of President Kennedy remains a remarkably controversial one, even today. Conspiracy theories abound as to who shot Kennedy and why.

While the official story, that Lee Harvey Oswald did it, with the rifle, in the book depository, is plausible, it is also notably incomplete – there are any number of holes and anomalies in it. The murder of Oswald only two days later, before he could stand trial, has done nothing to quell these uncertainties.

On a symbolic level, the death of Kennedy was the end of an era in many ways. Quite aside from the idealism that he brought to the nation, his death marked a change in the way America saw itself – no longer the lily-white paladin, but more the grim avenger willing do the dirty work no one else would – although in fairness, this change of self-image would take the rest of the decade to be complete.

Referenced in:

Civil War — Guns n’ Roses
Tabloid Junkie — Michael Jackson
Tomorrow, Wendy — Andy Prieboy
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
He Was A Friend of Mine — The Byrds
Tomorrow, Wendy — Concrete Blonde
Song for a Friend — The Kingston Trio
Purple Toupee — They Might Be Giants
She Is Always Seventeen — Harry Chapin