His brother, President John Kennedy, was killed less than five years before. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated two months and two days earlier on April 4,1968. By June 1968, violence from the inner cities to Vietnam was tearing the country apart, and had robbed the nation of three of its most inspiring leaders.
Robert Kennedy, only 42 years old, was killed celebrating his greatest triumph, winning the California primary as he fought for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
It's hard to think that Bobby Kennedy would be 82 years old today.
I often wonder how things would be different if he had become president. The issues he faced are amazingly like the issues we face now. War, racism, and economic distress. We've added GLBT issues, terrorism, the energy crisis and global warming.
Would RFK have taken our country in a different diplomatic directon? Would we have been less imperialistic, less greedy, less hypocrytical in foriegn affairs and trade? Would we have been better global neighbors? Would he have been more cognizant of protecting Earth's climate and resources. Would we be less hated in the world? Could he have made a difference that would have prevented the AIDS epidemic? Would we be a different America, a better America?
Please take a few minutes to listen to Ted Kennedy eulogize his brother. Note how his words still apply to our current world.
Ted's wavering voice is still emotional for me.
From the eulogy:
"Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
"Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital, quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change."
"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were and ask why not."
"At the University of Natal in Durban, I was told the church to which most of the white population belongs teaches apartheid as a moral necessity. A questioner declared that few churches allow black Africans to pray with the white because the Bible says that is the way it should be, because God created Negroes to serve. "But suppose God is black", I replied. "What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?" There was no answer. Only silence." South Africa, June 1966
"The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country."
"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it."
From his last speech, June 6, 1968