I meant to post this when I posted the story, but never got around to it. Now I'm back at work on my 50's NIS series and I found it in my notes:
November, 1954: Following his party's defeat in the midterm elections, Senator Joseph McCarthy uses his final weeks as chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to conduct hearings into Evanston Central High School's Naked in School Program. As the activities of a local school district are, in fact, outside the purview of this particular subcommittee, this action causes McCarthy to be formally censured by the Senate. In a speech attempting to distance himself from McCarthy, freshman senator John F. Kennedy declares that public schools have a "duty to prepare their students for life in a modern, permissive society."
December, 1954: With voluntary military recruitment increasing as a result of continued high unemployment, Defense Secretary Charles Erwin Wilson announces a suspension of draft call-ups, even as a U.S. military contingent is deployed to South Vietnam (ostensibly there to provide security for the unification referendum scheduled the following year, the contingent actually is there to train Ngo Dinh Diem's military forces to suppress Communist-sponsored insurgents)
January, 1955: In his State of the Union address, President Nixon calls for a national interstate highway system.
February, 1955: The first 6,000 U.S. soldiers arrive in South Vietnam
April, 1955: In a televised national address, President Nixon announces that a polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk of the Center for Communicable Diseases has been approved for general distribution.
May, 1955: The movie Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean premiers. The first studio-produced film to feature a character explicitly described as homosexual, it attracts protests across the nation, but Dean and co-star Sal Mineo will both win Academy Awards and become major movie stars. Realizing that sex will enable them to compete with still-censored television, the major studios disregard the Hays Code and continued protests from conservative Middle America, and films become increasingly salacious.
June, 1955: President Nixon signs the Federal Highway Aid Act and appoints former general and President of Columbia University Dwight D. Eisenhower first United States Secretary of Transportation.
September, 1955: Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita tops the New York Times bestseller list.