As we look back 40 years, books and documentaries tell us that 1968 was one of the most divisive years in the United States in the 20th century. Anniversaries of events keep popping up to remind us of the serial unpleasantness that tore at the nation's citizens and their beliefs. Because of my shipboard duties in the Far East at the time, 1968 was the only year of my life in which I was not in the United States even a single day. My knowledge of that tragic year came only far removed geographically and often only in retrospect.
My assignment was on board the tank landing ship Washoe County (LST-1165), home-ported in Yokosuka, Japan. The main sources of news at that distance from home were considerably different from the nightly network news broadcasts most Americans were seeing. We were reading Stars & Stripes, a daily newspaper put out for service members, and listening to Armed Forces Radio Network. Neither was noted for representing a broad range of political viewpoints, and neither had the sense of immediacy that television provides. News magazines arrived late.