Friday, June 06, 2008

The World Changed!

It was a Wednesday Morning. A seven year old boy awakes and crawls down from his upper bunk. The groggy child walks through his room and opens the door with one hand, while the other is still rubbing an eye. A short jaunt across the hall and into the bathroom he stares up at his father, brushing his teeth. The dad pauses for a moment, looks down and says:

"Robert Kennedy was shot last night"

The memory is as vivid now as it was that day. Even as a 7 year old I was politically aware. I went into the living room and simply stared at the black and white TV. Network news sharing the haunting news, graphic placards of the brain pointing out the areas of Bobby's injuries. He was alive, just barely, and it was only a matter of time before he slipped away.

40 years ago today we lost another Kennedy to an assassin's bullet. We will never know what type of world we would be living in today had Kennedy made it to the White House. What we do know is what a tragic loss it was for the nation when he was gunned down.

There are many quotes attributed to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, here are some you may have seen:
"What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents."

"The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country." (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 24, 1967)

"We can master change not though force or fear, but only though the free work of an understanding mind, though an openness to new knowledge and fresh outlooks, which can only strengthen the most fragile and most powerful of human gifts: the gift of reason."

"One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time."

"Fear not the path of truth, for the lack of people walking on it." (delivered in his speech at the Ambassador Hotel just prior to the assassination)
And from a speech he delivered two years to the day before his death:
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supream goal and the abiding practice of any Western society. Robert F. Kennedy 'Day of Affirmation' address University of Cape Town, South Africa, June 6th, 66

First, is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or woman can do against the enormous array of the worlds ills--against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant Reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the thirty-two year old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. Robert F. Kennedy 6-6-1966
May you continue to rest in peace, Bobby.


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