Thursday, November 6, 2008

Congratulations to Barack Obama

Congratulations to the President-elect.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Funeral of Robert F. Kennedy: June 8, 1968

The funeral of Bobby Kennedy was on June 8th. A service was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. Edward Kennedy read a touching and emotional eulogy for his brother.

Bobby's coffin was then taken to a train where it would travel to Washington, D.C. A train journey that should have taken only a couple of hours, took five hours.

As I wrote in my article The Funeral of Robert F. Kennedy

The train arrived in Washington just after 9pm; the trip took twice as long as it normally would have. After leaving the train, the funeral procession briefly stopped at the Lincoln Memorial where the Marine Corps Band played “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The procession then moved on to the Arlington Cemetery. It was the only nighttime burial that has ever taken place there. Floodlights were placed around the grave and candles were distributed to the mourners. The coffin was carried to the grave site by 13 pallbearers; among them were Robert McNamara, Edward Kennedy, and Joseph Kennedy, the oldest son of Robert F. Kennedy.

There was a brief graveside service performed by Terence Cardinal Cooke, the Archbishop of New York. A flag was then folded and presented to his widow, Ethel, by John Glenn.

The majority of the mourners had left by midnight. Among those mourners was singer Bobby Darin, according to him he spent the night at the grave site. Darin had campaigned for Kennedy and had only met him a few weeks previously. In response to Robert F. Kenney's death he wrote the song “In Memoriam.”


RFK Funeral Train



Robert F. Kennedy Memorial at Arlington

Funeral information from Arlington

Friday, June 6, 2008

The death of Robert F. Kennedy: June 6, 1968

After twenty-six hours of worldwide concern and grief, Bobby Kennedy died at 1:44 am on June 6th, 1968.

 Frank Mankiewicz announces the death of RFK

After an autopsy, his body was flown back to New York City where it lay in state at St. Patrick's Cathedral until June 8th. Over 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City for the chance to pass by his coffin. Here is his obituary from the New York Times.

Bobby Kennedy, articles June 6, 2008

US marks 40 years since RFK death

Local leaders hold Bobby Kennedy memorial - from Indianapolis

Robert F. Kennedy's long standing impact on politics

RFK's death and the hope of the young

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bobby Kennedy articles, June 5, 2008 - Part 2

The Delta in our Home - Kathleen Kennedy Townsend discusses her father.

Remembering Bobby

Robert F. Kennedy's assassination still moves a retired air force officer

40 years after assassination, RFK aide recalls senator's charisma

Voices - Juan Romero - the busboy who held Bobby after he had been shot.

Robert F. Kennedy: the legacy of the 1968 campaign

40 years later: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy - a very touching first-person account on video.

Bobby Kennedy, 40 years later

Robert F. Kennedy remembered - David Broder of the Washington Post recalls the 1968 campaign on video.

Why Bobby rocks a new generation

Taking "no" for an answer - Joseph Kennedy II talks about his father.

Lessons of the magnolia tree - Kerry Kennedy talks about her father.

Bobby Kennedy articles, June 5, 2008

RFK Assassination: Aide Recalls Tragedy Repeated - Ted Sorensen remembers

The day I graduated, and Bobby Kennedy died

The Assassination of Robert Kennedy

1968 a series: Robert F. Kennedy's mission ended by assassin

Robert Kennedy's death tested America's resilience

Where history turned

Slaying gave US a first taste of Mideast terror

Bobby Kennedy: 40 years later

This Kennedy was our friend

RFK Assassination

A day to celebrate the legacy of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

Did Robert Kennedy run "The Last Campaign"?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Robert F. Kennedy: June 5, 1968

After winning the California Democratic primary in California and giving his victory speech, Bobby Kennedy was shot as he was leaving the Ambassador Hotel through the kitchen. His convicted assassin was Sirhan Sirhan. There is still a lot of controversy about his guilt or innocence. Sirhan is currently serving a life sentence at the California State Prison, he is eligible to apply for parole every 5 years.

I heard the news the next day. I was eleven and living in Scotland at the time. I was very touched then as we had been doing a school project on the US election and I had always liked Bobby. It wasn't until I moved to Canada and started hanging out in the library, that I really became interested in Bobby. I read every book I could get my hands on and with every passing year I became more and more saddened by his assassination and what it meant. The world lost more than one man that day; a lot of people lost hope. I still can't talk about it without getting tears in my eyes.

Please share your experiences of that day; how you heard, how you reacted, and what it means to you today.


RFK being taken out of the Ambassador Hotel and into an ambulance

Bobby Kennedy articles, June 4, 2006

Here are some excellent articles on Bobby Kennedy.


What if RFK had become president?

Why Bobby Kennedy is more relevant than ever

40 years after RFK's death, questions linger

Kennedy: Veltroni, his political thought is still valid

Memorial for RFK in St. James Park marks happier day

Remembering Robert Kennedy's "Ripple of Hope."

Pete Hamill remembers Robert F. Kennedy -  features a great audio file from NPR.

Journalist captures Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties - reprints Pete Hamill's essay in A Time it Was. Also features a video of Kerry Kennedy talking about her father, and a slide show. There are links to several videos about RFK at this site.

Bobby Kennedy deserves wider recognition

Little left of Ambassador Hotel, site of RFK assassination

Epic vision - an article on Bill Eppridge

In Memoriam: actor brings Bobby Kennedy's story to life

RFK 6/6/68: no joking matter

Robert F. Kennedy photo gallery

Recalling RFK's campaign of hope

A dream denied

New York Assembly approves renaming Triborough Bridge for Bobby Kennedy

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy

I saw the documentary, The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy on CBC Newsworld last night. It covers the years leading up to Bobby Kennedy's 1968 murder. It was directed in 2003 by Patrick Jeudy and is narrated by Peter Hudson. This was the North American debut.

I found it to be a very fair and balanced documentary. It did not shy away from any controversies and did not "take sides". It pointed out what Bobby had done in his career, how he was perceived, and how he treated his enemies.

It did a good job in showing how Bobby learned from his past and how the death of his brother really helped him to come into his own. Before that, he was just the younger brother who had to help the older brother, no matter what the cost to him personally.

Sadly, it was during the 1968 presidential campaign that he finally felt that he was his own man. And then he was killed...

If you have the chance to see this, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bobby Kennedy articles for June 1st, 2008

In Memory of Bobby

Jeff Greenfield talks about Bobby


Robert Kennedy Was An Inspiration



Clinton Comment Stirs Memories of Covering Robert Kennedy's Visit



On RFK's Last Journey

A Secret Service agent remembers


When Hope Lived

A book review of The Last Campaign and A Time it Was.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bobby Kennedy news articles

I keep seeing more and more articles talking about this being the 40th anniversary of the death of Bobby Kennedy. More and more people are sharing their memories.


Robert Kennedy heckled in Oregon over Gun Controls

This features a reprint of a newspaper article from May 27, 1968, and reading the comments not much has changed in 40 years.


Robert Kennedy, May 29, 1968 - 2008. 40 Years Ago, A Look Back

This is the special section of the San Bernadino Sun that I mentioned earlier.


RFK in 1968: A Hard Struggle Against Long Odds


R.F.K., R.I.P., Revisited

Some memories of 1968.


Remembering Bobby Kennedy

A journalist's memories of 1968


Robert Kennedy Supporter Recalls Campaign Stop


The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy

About the documentary The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy from 2003, which will be aired on CBC Newsworld this Sunday.


A Haunting Moment That Won't Go Away

Talks about the book A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties.


RFK in Stockton: 40 Years Ago Today

Saturday, May 24, 2008

RFK Article from the Huffington Post

This is a good post in response to Hilary Clinton's gaffe (something I think has been taken way out of context). One thing about this article, it says Bobby only entered the race after Johnson withdrew. Johnson withdrew on March 31st, Bobby announced on March 16th. I am seeing this mistake more and more. I had to register with the site to comment and won't be able to until tomorrow.

When I watched Bobby Kennedy die

I posted to the comments of that article about the error. I spent 15 minutes reading all the comments; there are some wonderful recollections of the night.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Call for Contributions

The San Bernadino Sun is calling for those who have memories of Bobby's trip to San Bernadino during the 1968 campaign to contribute to their 40th anniversary coverage. It will be published on May 29th.

They are looking for recollections and photographs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Article for May 20, 2008

Like all admirers of the Kennedy family, I'm very shocked and saddened to hear about Sen. Edward Kennedy being diagnosed with a brain tumour. I hope he can make it through this one...


There is only one news article for today. It describes a visit Bobby made to Monterey Park on May 19, 1968.

The Day that Bobby Visited Monterey Park

Saturday, May 10, 2008

News articles, May 10, 2008


James Brady has written an analysis of Bobby Kennedy called Miley and Bobby.

An article comparing Obama to Bobby Kennedy and Gary Hart.

An article from the Rocky Mountain News talking about Indiana and the shadow of 1968

A story about the car that RFK was driven around in during the Indiana primary race

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bobby's Girls in Glamour

This month's Glamour magazine features an interview with RFK's daughters and granddaughters. It show what an impact RFK had on their lives and what they are doing to continue his work.

Friday, May 2, 2008

RFK in Vanity Fair

The newest issue of Vanity Fair features RFK on the cover and has an excerpt from the book The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America, by Thurston Clarke, which will be published this month. You can read it on the Vanity Fair web site and see some wonderful pictures.

The photographs were taken from the upcoming book, A Time it Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties, by Bill Eppridge which will also be published this month. You can see a slide show of 18 of Eppridge's photographs on the Vanity Fair web site also.

This looks like a very good excerpt and I can't wait to pick up a copy of the magazine.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Recent news articles about RFK

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, real life has gotten in the way. I promise to be more diligent in the future.


Recollection of RFK's campaign


Robert F. Kennedy, Bloomington, Indiana, April 24, 1968


A story from April 22nd, 1968

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

News articles - April 9, 2008

1960s memorable, yet turbulent time

A personal memory from a child of the 60s

Triborough Bridge named for RFK

The New York State Senate has passed the bill to name the bridge in New York City after RFK.

Famous rail cars pass through Muncie

A story about the train car that carried RFK's body from New York to Washington.

Monday, April 7, 2008

News articles for April 7, 2008

Spring-like weather finally arrived this weekend and everyone was out enjoying the warmth.

For me, it was also a weekend filled with thoughts and memories of Martin Luther King, Jr. and of RFK. I always have RFK on my mind between April 4th and June 5th every year.

Here are some news articles I found today.


Martin, Bobby, John and the drawbridge of hope

No nostalgia here for one confusing year

1968: the most traumatic year

King, Kennedy and April 4, 1968

Saturday, April 5, 2008

April 5, 1968

RFK gave this speech to the City Club of Cleveland the day after the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the Mindless Menace of Violence

City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio
April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, "there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.


RFK Memorial


You can hear the speech on this site.

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 4, 1968

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. He was standing on the balcony of a motel with Jessie Jackson and others, when he was shot. His convicted assassin was James Earle Ray, who was arrested in London, England for carrying a fake Canadian passport (coincidentally on the same day as RFK's funeral).

Robert F. Kennedy found out about the shooting just before he got on a plane going to Indianapolis, Indiana; he was to attend a rally in one of the black neighbourhoods there. When he arrived in Indianapolis, he was denied a police escort into the area; he went anyway. Whether or not it was due to the speech, Indianapolis was one of the few US cities that did not have widespread rioting that night.

This is the speech he gave from the back of a flat-bed truck:

Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Indianapolis, Indiana
April 4, 1968

I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black--considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible--you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization--black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "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."

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we've had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.


The RFK Memorial


I came across this video on; it was filmed on the spot where the speech took place. The statue in the background is of RFK and MLK reaching out towards one another. The filmmaker reads the speech. You can also listen to RFK's speech or watch it on YouTube from this page.

Related articles:

The Awful Grace of God
A Ten-Year-Old White Girl's Perspective
King, Kennedy: April 4, 1968
Robert Kennedy Remembered?
Event to Mark 40th Anniversary of King Slaying, Kennedy Speech

Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31, 2008

On this day in 1968, Lyndon Johnson announced that he was dropping out of the presidential race. Although there could be some debate, I am convinced that he never would have done so had RFK not entered the race.

Well, it looks like Spring is finally here. The snow is finally disappearing. I can't believe it is April already tomorrow. Like the song says "it's been a long, cold, lonely winter."

Here are a couple of news stories I found today:


Remembering the RFK Campaign by Roger Mudd

Ethel Kennedy to attend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial ceremony April 4th on behalf of Barack Obama

Thursday, March 27, 2008

News articles, March 27, 2008

Harry Benson is a Scottish photographer who was at the Ambassador hotel on June 5, 1998.

Harry Benson, a life in pictures


A new book about RFK's campaign for President in Indiana in 1968. will be released in April. It will be calledRobert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary by Ray E. Boomhower.

RFK's Indiana blitz

Monday, March 24, 2008

News articles for March 24, 2008

From February, after several of RFK's children endorsed Hillary Clinton. Discusses Bobby's ties to Caesar Chavez.

Searching for Bobby

Information on Bobby and his ties to Caesar Chavez.

Bobby and Caesar Chavez

While Robert F. Kennedy's oldest child was appearing at Dyngus Day festivities in South Bend, Indiana with Hillary Clinton, it sparked one woman's memories of RFK's appearance there in 1968.

Dyngusing with RFK

Friday, March 21, 2008

Memories of March 21, 1968

This article was originally published on the 35th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's visit to Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

In this speech he talked about the current dissent amongst young people and the reasons behind it.

A wound left unhealed

Later that day he also talked at the University of Alabama, where he talked about the divisions amongst the North and the South and pushed for reconciliation. You can find photographs from his visit at the University of Alabama website. You can also read the speech at the University of Alabama website. Click on the parts under Text of Robert F. Kennedy's speech to see the document.

Like the other post about his visit to Kansas, I found out about these speeches through the book The Gospel According to RFK: Why It Matters Now, edited by Norman MacAfee.

News links for March 21, 2008

I hope those who celebrate the holiday have a wonderful Easter.

I'm not a religious person, but I do respect the solemnity of Good Friday and the celebration of Easter Sunday. I am looking forward to a tasty Easter dinner (I'm cooking lamb) and a chocolate bunny.

Here are a couple of links that I found this morning. The first one is my favourite, I love hearing first-person stories from those who saw RFK speak, shook hands with him or met him.

Campaign prompts memories of RFK's visit

Reaction to column on RFK

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rafer Johnson discusses RFK

I found this article today from the Boston-Bay State Banner.  Rafer Johnson was a decathlete who won a gold medal in the 1960 Olympic games. He put his job at risk to campaign for RFK in California in 1968 and was with him at the end:

On June 5, 1968, the night of the California primary, Rafer Johnson walked a few paces behind Kennedy as he exited the Ambassador Hotel Ballroom and cut through the kitchen. After shots rang out, he and professional football player Roosevelt Grier wrestled Sirhan B. Sirhan to the floor.

It's sad to say that there were rumours that Rosie Grier and Rafer Johnson were arguing over who wrestled the gun from Sirhan. I have no idea if this is true or not. If anyone has more details about this, please share them with us.

But it really isn't important when it comes down to it and I'm sure they came to that conclusion themselves. Like Rafer himself said at the end of the article:

“We’re here today to talk about Robert Kennedy.”

Rafer Johnson looks back on the 1968 campaign

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

News articles - March 18th

Here are various articles that I discovered today:

Resurrecting the Idealism of Robert F. Kennedy

Measuring what matters

Hillary's piece of the RFK legacy

Bobby on parade


I imagine as we get closer to June 6th there will be more and more articles on Bobby.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Campaigning in Kansas

RFK's first campaign stops were in Kansas. He arrived there on March 17, 1968 and was greeted at the airport like a "rock star". According to writer Jan Landon: "Teenage girls screamed, students chanted his name, and people struggled to get a glimpse or a touch."

On the morning of March 18, he spoke to students at Kansas State University about the Vietnam War. You can find the full text on the PBS American Experience web site.

In this speech he took responsibility for his involvement in the decision making about the war during the Kennedy administration. He then laid out how the war could be ended

I find this quote from the speech very pertinent to the current state of the United States:

Our country is in danger: not just from foreign enemies; but above all, from our own misguided policies -- and what they can do to the nation that Thomas Jefferson once told us was the last, best, hope of man.

Later that day, he gave a speech at the University of Kansas in which he discussed poverty and the GNP.

As I have said before, the fact that Robert F. Kennedy didn't have the chance to be President is one of history's greatest tragedies. I truly believe the world would have been different had he lived.

You can read the full text of the speech made at Kansas State University, and other speeches made by RFK during his presidential campaign, in the book The Gospel According to RFK: Why it Matters Now, edited by Norman MacAfee.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Announcement of Candidacy for President

RFK got a lot of flack over when he announced his bid for the Presidency. According to many books, he had waffled back and forth about running for President for months and had decided before Eugene McCarthy won the New Hampshire primary. Many saw it has him "horning in" on Eugene McCarthy's success in the primaries.

I believe he was definitely a better choice to be the Democratic nominee, and many people did then. I don't think it was a coincidence that LBJ withdrew from the race 15 days after RFK made his announcement. Of course, Eugene McCarthy didn't see it like that and was bitter about it for the rest of his life.

After his death, most of RFK's delegates decided to support George McGovern rather than McCarthy. McCarthy only ended up with 23% of the delegates. As we all know, the eventual victor for the Democratic party was Hubert H. Humphrey, who lost to Richard Nixon in the election.

Washington, D.C. March 16, 1968

I am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I'm obliged to do all that I can.

I run to seek new policies - policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old, in this country and around the rest of the world.

I run for the presidency because I want the Democratic Party and the United States of America to stand for hope instead of despair, for reconciliation of men instead of the growing risk of world war.

I run because it is now unmistakably clear that we can change these disastrous, divisive policies only by changing the men who are now making them. For the reality of recent events in Vietnam has been glossed over with illusions.

The Report of the Riot Commission has been largely ignored.

The crisis in gold, the crisis in our cities, the crisis in our farms and in our ghettos have all been met with too little and too late.

No one knows what I know about the extraordinary demands of the presidency can be certain that any mortal can adequately fill that position.

But my service in the National Security Council during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin crisis of 1961 and 1962, and later the negotiations on Laos and on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty have taught me something about both the uses and limitations of military power, about the opportunities and the dangers which await our nation in many corners of the globe in which I have traveled.

As a member of the cabinet and member of the Senate I have seen the inexcusable and ugly deprivation which causes children to starve in Mississippi, black citizens to riot in Watts; young Indians to commit suicide on their reservations because they've lacked all hope and they feel they have no future, and proud and able-bodied families to wait our their lives in empty idleness in eastern Kentucky.

I have traveled and I have listened to the young people of our nation and felt their anger about the war that they are sent to fight and about the world they are about to inherit.

In private talks and in public, I have tried in vain to alter our course in Vietnam before it further saps our spirit and our manpower, further raises the risks of wider war, and further destroys the country and the people it was meant to save.

I cannot stand aside from the contest that will decide our nation's future and our children's future.

The remarkable New Hampshire campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy has proven how deep are the present divisions within our party and within our country. Until that was publicly clear, my presence in the race would have been seen as a clash of personalities rather than issues.

But now that the fight is on and over policies which I have long been challenging, I must enter the race. The fight is just beginning and I believe that I can win ...

Finally, my decision reflects no personal animosity or disrespect toward President Johnson. He served President Kennedy with the utmost loyalty and was extremely kind to me and members of my family in the difficult months which followed the events of November of 1963.

I have often commended his efforts in health, in education, and in many other areas, and I have the deepest sympathy for the burden that he carries today.

But the issue is not personal. It is our profound differences over where we are heading and what we want to accomplish.

I do not lightly dismiss the dangers and the difficulties of challenging an incumbent President. But these are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary election.

At stake is not simply the leadership of our party and even our country. It is our right to moral leadership of this planet.

You can listen to this speech and others at RFK speeches in Real Audio.


The RFK Memorial


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Campaign ads from 1968

I found these ads from the 1968 election on YouTube. I particularly like the ones where he is talking to the kids.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Poems about Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Lowell wrote a couple of poems about Robert F. Kennedy.

For Robert Kennedy 1925-68

Here in my workroom, in its listlessness

of Vacancy, like the old townhouse one shut for summer,

airtight and sheeted from the sun and smog,

far from the hornet yatter of his gang--

is loneliness, a thin smoke threat of vital

air. But what will anyone teach you now?

Doom was woven in your nerves, your shirt,

woven in the great clan; they too were loyal,

and you too were loyal to them, to death.

For them like a prince, you daily left your tower

to walk through dirt in your best cloth. Untouched,

alone in my Plutarchan bubble, I miss

you, you out of Plutarch, made by hand--

forever approaching our maturity.


For Robert Kennedy 2

How they hated to leave the unpremeditated

gesture of their life--the Irish in black, three rows

ranked for the future photograph, the Holy Name,

fiercely believed in then, then later held to

perhaps more fiercely in their unbelief...

We were refreshed when you wisecracked through the guests,

usually somewhat woodenly, hoarsely dry...

Who would believe the nesting, sexing tree swallow

would dive for eye and brain--this handbreadth insect,

navy butterfly, the harbinger of rain,

changed to a danger in the twilight? Will we

swat out the birds as ruthlessly as flies?...

God haunts us. Who has seen him, who will judge this killer,

his guiltless liver, kidneys, fingertips and phallus?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Memories of RFK

It is almost the 40th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. He was shot on June 5th, 1968 and died on June 6th. At the time he was running for President and had just won the California primary.

I was 11-years-old when he died. I was living in Scotland. I actually knew who he was as we were working on a project at school about the US. I had an instinctive like of Bobby and an instant dislike of Richard Nixon. Even then I was a lefty, I guess. When I heard he had died I was very saddened. Then I went on with my life. It was after I had moved to Canada in 1970 that I got interested in the Kennedy family. I started off reading books about JFK but soon found I was much more interested in what Bobby had done in his life. I soon began reading everything I could get my hands on about Bobby.

I often wonder how different the world would have been if he had lived and been elected president. Of course, it was not definite he would have been elected. Still, it would have been nice if he had had the chance.

I hope we hear lots about Bobby this year. We have heard talk of him from the Democratic candidates but a lot of people really don't know enough about him. They hear some stories and take them at gospel, but don't bother to find out the truth. I think his biggest contribution to the 1968 election campaign was that he gave people hope. He may not have been able to accomplish everything he said he would, but you know he would have tried and would have stood by his beliefs.

Bobby announced he was running for President on March 16, 1968. I'll post a transcript of that speech here on that day.

What memories do you have of that time?

Creative Commons License

Memories of RFK by
Susan Keeping is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.