The passing of RFK remembered

lizkat

Deep deep blue
Vaccinated
Posts
6,736
Reaction score
14,042
Location
Catskill Mountains
Some photos popping up today of the RFK funeral train's passage, 53 years ago this week. What a terrible year 1968 had become. Will never forget the disbelief most of us had on that early June night, being waked to such news AGAIN just two months after MLK Jr. had been assassinated. Almost too much to bear for so many people. And so many times I've thought we are still struggling to get up off the mat from that summer.

https://www.twitter.com/i/web/status/1402280795021234182/
 

Scepticalscribe

Site Master
Vaccinated
Posts
6,527
Reaction score
9,287
I was a kid when it happened, but I recall my father's distress and shock at the time.

That summer - the murders of MLK, and RFK respectively, the suppression of the Prague Spring - I do recall how upset my parents were.

He had relatives in Boston, and had spent some time - an extended holiday, of a few months, - he took a leave of absence from his job - and I think his relatives attempted to persuade him to emigrate, and I suspect that he was sorely tempted, he liked the US - actually, it blew his mind, - but he was dating my mother at the time, and the US (unlike Europe) didn't interest her - in the US in the 50s, from which he returned with a lifelong passion for the Democratic Party, a strong preference for liberal politics (not shared by most of his Boston relatives, as I later learned when they visited us) - which my mother not only shared but also extended - and a subscription to TIME magazine which lasted until well into the 1990s.
 

lizkat

Deep deep blue
Vaccinated
Posts
6,736
Reaction score
14,042
Location
Catskill Mountains
I was a kid when it happened, but I recall my father's distress and shock at the time.

That summer - the murders of MLK, and RFK respectively, the suppression of the Prague Spring - I do recall how upset my parents were.

He had relatives in Boston, and had spent some time - an extended holiday, of a few months, - he took a leave of absence from s this job - and I think his relatives attempted to persuade him to emigrate, and I suspect that he was sorely tempted, he liked the US - actually, it blew his mind, - but he was dating my mother at the time, and the US (unlike Europe) didn't interest her - in the US in the 50s, from which he returned with a lifelong passion for the Democratic Party, a strong preference for liberal politics (not shared by most of his Boston relatives, as I later learned when they visited us) - which my mother not only shared but also extended - and a subscription to TIME magazine which lasted until well into the 1990s.

The late 60s were a hard time to be an activist in American politics: there was starting to be pushback on civil rights and it was not by any means always peaceful either. Meanwhile "the American war" in Vietnam was escalating, both in military involvement there and in popular (and so political) discontent here in the USA. So 1968 was never going to be a swell year, despite the efforts and/or wishful thinking of civil rights or antiwar activists... but I never did meet anyone who on their worst day before April that year would have predicted what a fraught and tragic time that spring and summer would bring. It was about making change, moving forward...

So it's a good thing sometimes that we can't really see too far down the road: the view ahead in summary might have seemed more horrifying than anyone could bear. I suppose part of it in 1968 was that those of us in our late teens to mid-20s during that time -- often an age of seemingly invincible energy, idealism and optimism-- may have figured that we'd already survived just about the worst that "fate or hate" in political affairs could dish out, back when JFK had been assassinated five years earlier, and when the violence in the South had already spilled into murders over civil rights.

Honestly when a friend phoned about the shooting of RFK in California --just after midnight there, so in the wee hours on the East coast-- I felt all over again like it was not even possible for MLK Jr. to have been slain and now yet another Kennedy fallen to "a guy with a gun" and some kind of hatred. Nightmarish, really, waiting for the dawn and finally hearing that Bobby Kennedy had indeed succumbed to his injury. That year, 1968, never has become other than nightmarish to me, not even after all these later and even worse phenomena of mass shootings in the USA. The year became for me in memory just a series of terrible news headlines, not the usual melange of ups and downs in anyone's recollection of a particular year decades later.
 

Clix Pix

Focused
Vaccinated
Site Donor
Posts
2,573
Reaction score
4,930
Location
Eight Miles from the Tysons Apple Store, No. VA
Main Camera
Sony
My five higher education years were bookmarked by the two Kennedy assassinations. I was a freshman in college when JFK was shot and then in 1968 was just wrapping up my graduate school degree at Catholic University in Washington, DC when in April there was the assassination of MLK, which was horrific to say the least, not to mention the aftermath, and we hadn't quite gotten over the shock of it when we were whammed by RFK being shot. So, yes, both 1963 and 1968 were memorable years -- and devastating for this country.
 
Top Bottom