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Cradle Of Aviation Museum Exhibit Celebrates Magical Summer Of 1969

The 1969 Mets are celebrated at the Summer of '69 exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island. (Credit: CBS 2)

The 1969 Mets are celebrated at the Summer of ’69 exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island. (Credit: CBS 2)

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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Mention the summer of ’69, and you may think of the 1985 Bryan Adams song of that title, which was not really about the summer of 1969 when Adams was just 10 years old.

But you may instead think of where you really were that summer 45 years ago this year, and songs such as “Woodstock” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young might instead flood your head.

The summer of 1969 came amid a time of social turmoil and war, but became a feel-good moment for many because of the extraordinary actions of a few great Americans.

As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, an exhibit at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island celebrates that summer that was so special to many.

The exhibit is a time warp triple-play – featuring items celebrating the memories of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair upstate, and the Miracle Mets who became the first expansion team to win a division title, a pennant and the World Series.

“We were being looked at over the years as being a team that really kind of made people feel better about their lives, and kind of – it was a light at the end of the tunnel; if we could do it, they could do it,” said 1969 Mets outfielder Art Shamsky .

Shamsky, like his counterparts from the other amazing feats of the summer of 1969, celebrated the memories of that time while wondering about where the spirit went.

“Today we’re pretty much in a risk-averse society. Nobody takes any chances to do anything,” said Apollo astronaut Walt Cunningham. “In those days, we looked forward to the opportunity of sticking your neck out a little to make progress.”

Artie Kornfeld, the prime promoter of the Woodstock festival, recalled his stealth campaign wrapped in a rock festival.

“I was very careful not to make it publicly a protest against the war, but believe me, Nixon knew I was taking him head on, and I beat him,” Kornfeld said.

Woodstock , of course, was central to the music and history of the rock era – with an assortment of acts of varying styles from Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to Ravi Shankar and Sha Na Na.

But believe it or not, the number one song for that summer was not by any of those artists or any of the others at Woodstock, but by a cartoon band – “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies.

The Summer of ’69 exhibit will run through Labor Day at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

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