THE PEOPLE: Unforgettable

The first year of the atomic age drew to a close amid a noisy bustle of Christmas shopping (most extravagant on record), of unrationed auto traffic, of holiday travel and partying such as the U.S. had never seen before.

The long lines in front of the annual Christmas week show at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall, the picket lines in Detroit, the lines of dazzling lights reappearing on the trees along Hollywood Boulevard—all these, in their own manner, offered proof that the U.S. was back to some kind of normalcy after four years of war. The uniforms were disappearing; the...