Note: Pages 157-158 are torn out. If you have a clean copy we can scan, please let us know.
A Year Of Years
September 8, 1981 To June 10, 1982
Every year has its characteristics. The period between September 8, 1981, and June 10, 1982, was 276 days of conflict and peace, discovery and puzzlement, victory and defeat. It was 276 days that will never be repeated in the future. It was a year in which we attended Wm. S. Hart High School while all around us, related to our lives yet unrelated, the world, with all its history making events, revolved.
It was a year of international strife and international success. Perhaps the most important event of this period was the tragic assassination of one of the world's greatest men of peace. President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, who, on October 6, 1981, was gunned down at an Egyptian military review. Of equal importance to world peace was the state of martial law declared in Poland and the confinement of Poland's Solidarity leader and national hero Lech Walesa. These events caused tension and tempers to flare throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the rest of the civilized world. We saw other important events take place as well. In early November, a Soviet submarine went aground near a highly secret Swedish naval base, heightening anti-Soviet suspicion the world over. American NATO commander, General James Dozier was kidnapped and held by members of Italy's largest terrorist group, the Red Brigade. After over a month in captivity, General Dozier was freed by Italian police, who later swept through the country, arresting many Red Brigade members. Israel made its final withdrawals from the Sinai, in accordance with the dictates of the Camp David Agreement, withdrawals that went smoothly except for occasional Israeli settlers who were removed by force. Strife and violence erupted between Israel and Lebanon as bombings and terrorism, sparked by Lebanese-based P.L.O. forces, reached adhorred [sic] heights, bringing open military conflict late in the school year, as Israeli forces attacked Southern Lebanon, seeking out and destroying P.L.O., bases and forces. This action on Israel's part soon brought other Arab nations into the fray, militarily, politically and/or economically.
Suddenly, on April 2, 1982, Argentine military forces attacked and overwhelmed the small Royal Marine the British held islands of the Falkland chain. Control of these South Atlantic islands, over three thousand miles from the nearest British territory and four hundred miles from the Argentine mainland, was hotly contested for several weeks, drawing sanctions against Argentina from England's allies and eventual support from America, and resulting in actual exchanges of gunfire and the loss of many lives. Eventually we would see British soldiers invade and struggle to raise the British flag over the Falklands again.
In opposition to the problems of our world came many events bound to have a positive effect on mankind's future. Heroes were everywhere apparent in El Salvador, as the most democratic elections that country ever had were held amid threats of violence. People, many of whom were threatened by guerillas, were eager to vote for their next government leader. President Reagan's call for nuclear arms negotiations with the Soviet Union resulted in a late May announcement by the President that START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) would begin in late June. The 1981-82 school year saw His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, fully recovered from his gunshot wound of the previous year and following a nearly tragic repetition of the event, make a one-week pilgrimage to England at the end of May.
In June of '82, as a further step to maintain important communications between nations, leaders, including President Reagan, of the seven largest industrialized democratic nations met at the Chateau de Versailles outside Paris. The members of this economic summit discussed trade and international economics. During the previous summer the world watched as Prince Charles of England wed Lady Diana Spencer. Several months later, during the school year, the citizenry of Great Britain was overjoyed to learn that the royal couple were expecting an heir to the British throne.
It was a year of domestic trials and tribulations. It was the year that President Reagan made good one of his campaign promises. The President appointed the first woman justice to the highest court in the land as Sandra Day O'Connor took her seat on the bench of the United States Supreme Court. Early in the school year President Reagan signed a measure ordering further research and construction of the MX missile and the B-1 bomber. The 1981-82 school year was also the year that Congress, with coaxing by the President, approved the sale of several AWAC reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, a sale that was met with much criticism from home and abroad.
The year brought with it discord among the President's staff, as the President's economic adviser, David Stockman, publicly spoke out against Reaganomics, and the White House Security Adviser, Richard Allen, was investigated and resigned for allegedly accepting bribes. In early 1982 President Reagan announced his plans to transfer funds and control of several government programs to the state government level.
In Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, aircraft accidents caused the FAA and society in general to look seriously at the problems and safety of aircraft and air travel. Horrendous spring storms swept through the Midwest and East, destroying millions of dollars' worth of property and claiming many lives. Finally, the proponents of the Equal Rights Amendment suffered a major setback as the June 30, 1982, ratification deadline neared. ERA was successfully shelved in North Carolina, as supporters continued to fast in Illinois and the three-state ratification appeared unattainable.
It was a year of economic problems. In early October of 1981 the national debit of the United States reached the appalling sum of one-trillion dollars. On October 1, 1981, President Reagan's budget cuts went into effect and in May of '82 the Republican and Democratic leaders of our government failed to compromise and agree on a new budget, ending hopes of a bipartisan agreement and resulting in both sides using the other as a scapegoat.
The spring of 1982 brought with it economic problems and eventually bankruptcy to Freddie Laker and his Laker Airlines, pioneer in low-cost airfare and victim to risky price wars and economic competition with major airlines. Similarly, Braniff Airlines went under, resulting in the major airlines hotly competing for Braniff's old routes. In early June we witnessed the level of national unemployment reach 9.5 percent, the highest since 1941.
It was a year of discovery and achievement. It was the year that the world witnessed the first re-useable space vehicle lift off for a second and third trip. In November, two astronauts. Joe Engle and Richard Truly, spent three days in Earth orbit experimenting with the functions of the shuttle Columbia, only to be called back early due to mechanical malfunctions. In March astronauts Jack Lousma and Gordon Fullerton put another million miles on the Columbia's odometer as they spent eight days of a planned seven-day mission experimenting with the Canadian mechanical arm and sample cargo loads.
It was a year of champions. On the one-hundred-yard battlefields of the country the professional football teams of the nation enjoyed a successful year. It culminated in two surprising teams, the San Francisco '49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals, going to Pontiac, Michigan, to play the Super Bowl, where the '49ers came out on top. In baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind to join the legendary New York Yankees in the World Series, where the Dodgers surprised George Steinbrenner's Yankees, winning four games to two. In the world of basketball, after an exciting season, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia '76ers played in June in the NBA championship, resulting in a victory for Los Angeles. The fast, exciting sport of hockey enjoyed an exciting season as two excellent teams, the New York Islanders and the Vancouver Canucks, competed for the coveted Stanley Cup. a competition which was won by New York. The U.S. Tennis Open was won by talented John McEnroe, competing against Bjorn Borg, and young Tracy Austin, playing against Martina Navratilova.
At the end of the 1981 baseball season top honors went not only to the Dodgers, but also to their rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who was awarded the Cy Young Award. In the world of football, the networks paid the NFL two million dollars for the right to cover games during the 1982 season. And the Oakland Raiders won a major court victory in their attempt to move to Los Angeles.
It was a year of blockbusters, cinema heroes, and tragic losses in the entertainment field. Throughout the 1981-82 school year Hollywood cranked out several box office winners. Movie fans enjoyed the exploits of Indiana Jones in Lucas' and Spielberg's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the Italian stallion in "Rocky III," and the epic story of American journalists in "Reds." The Academy Award winners for 1982 included both surprise and expected recipients. Surprising many, the English production, "Chariots of Fire," won the Best Movie award. Best Actor was Henry Fonda, Best Actress was Katherine Hepburn, both won for their roles in "On Golden Pond."
Tragedy befell the entertainment industry as such notables as Natalie Wood, William Holden, costume designer Edith Head, and comics John Belushi and Paul Lynde passed away. All would be sorely missed by their entertainment peers and the rest of the world.
The life of a student during the nine months from September to June was oftentimes filled with the pressures and pleasures, words, thoughts, and actions of school life. We, as students, with so much on our minds, often did not fully absorb the myriad happenings of the world around us. Only when we stop, turn around, and look back at what has occurred, can we truly accept, reflect upon, and view in proper perspective that which was the period between September 8, 1981, and June 10, 1982, a year unique unto itself — a year of years.