As the nation prepared for one of man's greatest triumphs (the Moon landing) another event was unfolding that would remind us of human frailities that time and again lead to the downfall of many great men. And although it occurred on the eve of the Moon walk it would easily outlive that news cycle. (Looking back, it was a precursor to the uncensored scandals that are now sadly the norm.)
The news of the deadly car accident involving married Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and his young female passenger Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick Island (off Martha's Vineyard) interrupted my family's viewing of the Miss Universe Pageant on Saturday night (back then beauty pageants were a big draw). Although the accident occurred late Friday Kennedy waited until after daybreak Saturday to report it. And despite the fact that I was only 12 at the time even I could sense that there was something amiss about his explanation.
30 years later another Kennedy tragedy would occur in the middle of July (7/16/99) when John Kennedy, Jr. was killed in the crash of the plane he was piloting off Martha's Vineyard. (See my post about the deaths of Princess Diana and JFK, Jr.)
(For the uninitiated the book Chappaquiddick Revealed: What Really Happened goes into detail about the scandal and the implications it would have on Ted Kennedy's political career.)