Fifty Years Ago -- 1956
Fifty years ago, in 1956, I was 12 years old -- too old for childish things and too young for wayward women.
It was a year when a former truck driver named Elvis Presley burst upon the American scene and helped to create a new musical movement called "rock-n-roll." And the world has been rocking and rolling ever since.
January 5 -- Elvis Presley recorded his first record, "Heartbreak Hotel," for RCA. It would become the first of 45 records by Elvis to sell over a million copies.
January 19 -- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to censure Israel for attacking Syria.
January 30 -- Elvis Presley recorded "Blue Suede Shoes."
March 5 -- The U.S. Supreme Court banned segregation in public schools (Brown vs. Board of Education).
March 13 -- RCA released Elvis Presley's first record album.
March 31 -- The federal minimum wage was set at $1 an hour.
April 25 -- "Heartbreak Hotel," recorded by Elvis Presley, became the #1 hit on the charts.
April 28 -- The last of the French occupying troops left Vietnam, leading to American intervention.
May 21 -- The USA dropped a thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb from a plane onto Bikini Atoll.
June 8 -- Air Force Sergeant Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. became the first American military serviceman on record to die in Vietnam. His son, Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, was killed in Vietnam in 1965.
June 29 -- Actress Marilyn Monroe and playwright Arthur Miller were married in London.
July 1 -- Elvis Presley appeared on the Steve Allen Show wearing a tuxedo.
July 24 -- Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the country's most popular comedy team, performed together for the last time at the Copacabana Club in New York City.
July 30 -- The U.S. motto "In God We Trust" was authorized by Congress.
August 4 -- RCA released Elvis Presley's recording of "Hound Dog."
August 11 -- RCA released Elvis Presley's recording of "Don't Be Cruel."
August 16 -- Adlai E. Stevenson was nominated for president by the Democratic Convention in Chicago.
August 18 -- "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel," recorded by Elvis Presley, reached #1 on the music charts.
August 22 -- President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard M. Nixon were nominated for second terms by the Republican Convention in San Francisco.
September 9 -- Elvis Presley made his first of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Due to viewer outrage of his gyrations, Elvis was televised only from the waist up in the final appearance.
September 28 -- RCA reported that Elvis Presley had sold over 10 million records so far.
October 8 -- Don Larson, pitcher for the New York Yankees, pitched the only perfect game in World Series history. The Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-0, and won the series four games to three.
October 24 -- Soviet troops invaded Hungary and installed a communist regime shortly thereafter.
October 31 -- Great Britain and France bombed Egyptian airfields in an attempt to take over the Suez Canal.
November 2 -- Israel captured Gaza.
November 6 -- Dwight Eisenhower was reelected president. The Democrats won both houses of Congress.
November 16 -- "Love Me Tender," the first film by Elvis Presley, premiered in New York City.
December 2 -- Fidel Castro led a small band of rebels in an uprising that would eventually liberate Cuba from a corrupt dictator named Batista, and replace him with another corrupt dictator named Fidel Castro.
All in all, 1956 was a typical year of global strife. Unfortunately, 50 years later, power struggles continue, forcing the human race to squander resources and endure ceaseless change. But rock-n-roll is here to stay.
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Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.