Thursday, June 05, 2008

Long Time Gone

June 5, 1968. 40 years ago today.

My family was pretty politically active, so I was immersed in politics from an early age. I remember meeting John Kennedy during his presidential campaign, during a swing through Scranton, even though I was very young. I also remember meeting Hubert Humphrey during a visit to DC.

In 1968, I was in my early teens and I remember it was a time of hope. A time of dreams of a better future, a better tomorrow. It seemed as though life was full of possibilities.

Yet, it was also a time of great sorrow and despair.

The Vietnam War was waging. Kent State. And then, of course, there was John Kennedy. Martin Luther King. And Bobby Kennedy.

I think the death of Bobby was also the beginning of the end of the hope. The free love (sex), drugs, and protests of '60s era lived on for a number of years, but the dreams were part of the past.

Will Bunch has a remembrance of Bobby, Robert F. Kennedy, 1925-1968, including the text and video of Bobby announcing the assassination of MLK on April 4, 1968 (see above). I also heard Ted Sorensen's recollections of Bobby on NPR this morning, see RFK Assassination: Aide Recalls Tragedy Repeated. My favorite quote from Kennedy's talk that evening:

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
Before things got crazy with the Obama/Clinton primary, there was a sense that Barack was someone who evoked the spirit of Bobby Kennedy, including the hope. See, e.g, Can Do. Who knows if that's gone too.

And then there is the song that has always said it all for me. Abraham, Martin & John (and Bobby). This version is a tribute to Bobby.

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