WABC – 12:00 midnight – 1:00 am – November 6, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
It’s Election Night: November 6, 1968. It’s also a school night, but you don’t care. You want to find out who’s going to be President. And even though you can’t vote, because you’re 17, you still want to know. You’re against the War in Vietnam and your brother is about to be drafted. He’s 19. He can fight in a war, but he can’t vote. It’s your last year of High School. Class of ’69. Freedom. Your brother says it doesn’t hit you until you realize you don’t have to wake up and be anyplace in the morning – you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to; it’s all up to you. You think you might run for office – you don’t want to do nothing; you want to make the world a better place than when you found it. You want to get involved.
So you sit in your room and you listen to your radio – it’s on WABC. Two of your friends come over and you take turns sitting on the fire-escape smoking cigarettes and listening. They were helping pass out flyers for Humphrey. You all worked for Robert Kennedy and cried the night he got shot. Your mom and dad are in the living room watching TV; they have Walter Cronkite on. You stick your head out your window and listen to election results coming from everywhere. Seems like every apartment has a TV or radio on; the sound bounces off walls and fills the neighborhood. It’s past midnight and it doesn’t seem like anybody is going to sleep. You wonder about the future and you wonder if the war will still be going on when you turn 21. You want everything to be okay. Jacob Javits just got re-elected and Humphrey is winning by nearly 150,000 votes – everybody’s waiting for the West Coast returns to come in.
And you have one cigarette left.