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I had gone to bed right as the state was called for RFK, it was late to be up for a 14 year old high school Freshman so I didn't see anything that had happened afterwards. It was a big night for me, I was so happy RFK had won and on the following morning of the 6th, a little personal victory for me was slated as well. I was going to be sworn in as class president for our upcoming Sophomore year. I had been on cloud 9 for a week since my own little landslide victory.

The morning of the 5th dawned dark and cloudy, the "June Gloom" so common on the California coast, in fact a day very much like it is outside right now. I don't recall if there was much commotion among my parents, I think they must have been stunned. My first clear memory of the morning starts with me approaching the other kids at the bus stop. It was here I first heard the details of RFK's wounds. In denial of their severity I casually observed that "there wasn't much behind there" where I was told he had been shot, secretly knowing that well yes, there is quite a bit behind there- but by a .22! I just couldn't imagine a .22 actually KILLING RFK.

The next two days are a blur. My clearest memory though is getting the news he had died that morning of the 6th then standing there later in the morning, right hand upraised, swearing to do whatever duties a class president was supposed to do. It was all so surreal. The Gym. The 2000 assembled students. The band. The whooppees and all that.

It was a waking nightmare.

And in between all that the sober realization that nothing would stop the war, no one was going to receive justice and Nixon would be President.

The Horror.

1968 was the beginning of the great reaction we are still trying to get through, if only by the skin of our teeth. In the way the fates seem to turn us, my hope lies in this- that this dark time in our history, these past 40 years, that 2008 will see the other bookend to this horrible era and the start of a new one dedicated to justice and freedom for all. Will an elected Obama slam the book shut on this march of fascism and begin the new or will he be a craftier enabler? I want to believe it's the former we have to look forward to but I fear the ferocity of reaction will only begin anew if he or any others make any noise about what really goes on in this country and for whose benefits.

40 years ago, I was young. Now I grow old and think how my entire life has been marred by the Plutocracy that has so betrayed this country and the potential of all our young lives from then, until now. May this generation not experience the horror of watching your country circle the drain and be thought mad for pointing it out. May this generation see a re-birth of freedom and justice for all.

Originally posted to Dave925 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:08 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Losing my religion (15+ / 0-)

    ...seriously.  This night marks the 40th anniversary of my decision that there is no God up there who's making things right.  RFK was the last person I seriously prayed for.  Watched it in California.

    (I recently met someone who said Sirhan was detained in his father's office at the hotel.)

    Rubus Eradicandus Est.

    by Randomfactor on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:11:15 AM PDT

    •  Now that you mention it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've always traced the origins of my deep (one might almost say "fundamentalist") atheism to my 13th year, when I remember a long spell of insomniac nights followed by one very long "dark night of the soul" when I realized there was no One out there. Backtracking through events in my life at that time, it would've been right around (probably shortly after) Bobby was gunned down. I can't say there was cause/effect, but there was definitely proximity.

  •  I guess I was stardust (17+ / 0-)

    Or a random collection of molecules somewhere.

    But I enjoyed your story, and I'm fascinated with the late-'60s period. It's hard to sort out the truth from the fiction, though. So I simply try to talk to as many different people who actually lived through it as I can.

    "I have a lot of growing up to do. I realized that the other day inside my fort." --- Zach Galifianakis

    by droogie6655321 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:11:17 AM PDT

    •  I wish there were some way to communicate (8+ / 0-)

      the day-to-day feel of the 60s.  Dave925 has done an excellent job with part of it, here.  But the time has been so mythologized (I mean, people think "Hair" represents hippies, when hippies thought of "Hair" as a Hallmark-style co-optation) that it would be hard for anyone not there to have any sense of it.  Some day I will try, but I've despaired of ever being a good enough writer to communicate that time.  And in not too long, there will be no one who remembers.  

      Regarding the subject of this diary - I don't remember where I was on the day RFK was shot.  I was 20, and I'm sure I didn't have a TV so would have to have gotten the news from friends, later the next day.  I remember seeing Johnson announce his non-candidacy (on someone else's TV), and a lot of other moments, but not that one, oddly enough.  

      Mike: "I miss my sense of outrage." Kim: "I know... What was it like?" [Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury (from memory)]

      by berkeleybarb on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:34:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are so right (4+ / 0-)

        The time was extraordinary, the feeling unique. I find myself now thinking of time in equivalencies like this-

        We are as far now from 1968 as 1968 was from 1928- the heady days before the plutocracy crashed the country, as they are about to do again.

        The one constant throughout any period of history is people. Times may change but people do not. The feelings any particular era evokes can be related to any other like era. So, you want to know what '68 felt like kid? Well, it felt a lot like today, just different, for everyone. After all, it was the present and people got through it. People always do.

        Ignore whatever popular mythification in its shallowness our pop media portrays about any period of time. Look into yourself, the feelings we felt then are being felt by you now and always will be.

        Some people say not to worry about the air Some people don't know shit about the... Air...

        by Dave925 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:58:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "about to"?? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave925, Panda, berkeleybarb

          We are as far now from 1968 as 1968 was from 1928- the heady days before the plutocracy crashed the country, as they are about to do again.

          It's already happened. Primed by Reagan, pushed along by Bush Sr, enabled right and left by Clinton (and Gingrich), with the final drowning in the famous bathtub taking place for the past seven and a half years.

          We're just hoping we're able to touch the bottom with our toes now, and get ready to push off again...

          Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end. - Alan Paton

          by rcbowman on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:33:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I found myself understanding my parents' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          experience of WWII, or at least understanding that they had had a personal experience of WWII, when Vietnam started showing up in history books. Oh. The days. The morning, noon and night.  The grocery shopping and the cooking and the going to work - all the time, the war was there. "Just like now." I even understood why my Mom loved the suburbs, having come out of that darkness.  And I understood why she says (still) that the war was in some ways the best of times, because everyone was working together. That was 1968, too. Perhaps it is also 2008.

          In some ways, the number of options for experience nowadays make our society more fragmented - I mean, I grew up with 3 TV channels - we all shared a lot of expectations and understandings. However, the Net may also be uniting us in some fascinating ways that revise and update that "everyone working together" experience.

          Mike: "I miss my sense of outrage." Kim: "I know... What was it like?" [Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury (from memory)]

          by berkeleybarb on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 01:58:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I remember where I was the next morning (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Panda, auditor, cfk, berkeleybarb

        On the front stoop of our Jersey City tenement, watching my father standing out in the middle of the street -- drunk, unkempt, unshaven, awake all night, a bit insane I believe now -- screaming over and over again at the top of his lungs "They shot Bobby! They shot Bobby! They shot Bobby!!!" And crying, crying endlessly like some baby in a wrinkled business suit, something I'd only ever seen him do once before -- in November 1963.

  •  Great Post. (11+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on that painful day many years ago.

  •  My mother's womb. (9+ / 0-)

    :) n/t

    They hate us for our Dunkin' Donuts.

    by FishBiscuit on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:12:28 AM PDT

  •  My memory (11+ / 0-)

    Waking up at 6:30 and turning on the radio, only to hear the news of the shooting.  I was in fifth grade at the time.

    John McCain: The jobs aren't coming back, but we'll have more war.

    by Paleo on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:13:53 AM PDT

  •  Well Half of Me Was (7+ / 0-) my mother's thirteen year old ovary.  The other half was still spread all over the food chain in the form of various mineral proteins.

    Mind you've I've never had a conversation with her about when she reached puberty and I'm not really sure how all that plumbing develops.

    But I never am going to have that conversation either so this is as accurate an answer as you're going to get.

    ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:14:07 AM PDT

  •  in my crib (10+ / 0-)

    Blissfully unaware of what the next forty years would bring ;)

    we do what we do because of who we are. if we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. ( -6.12, -6.26 )

    by grrtigger on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:14:09 AM PDT

  •  I was (14+ / 0-)

    living in Europe with my Army husband and three young children.  We lived in Mannheim, Germany.  I was watching the German TV channel, which was the only channel we had at that time, and it came over the news that RFK had been shot.  My neighbors and I gathered around the TV and held our mouths and cried.  We could not believe another Kennedy was gone from our midst after only 5 years since his brother had been killed.  The pain in the room was palpable as was the disbelief.

    Our husbands were "in the field" which meant they would not be home for 2-3 more weeks, so we had to bear this alone together.

    It hurt then, and it hurts now just to think of it!

    Love long....laugh often!

    by RO45 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:14:14 AM PDT

  •  Waking up to her my mother crying, again. (13+ / 0-)

    She was so upset.  Martin had just been killed and now Bobby.

    (She was in her 6th year of fighting breast cancer and after 5 surgeries was missing a lot of her upper torso including one whole lung so crying was a real issue with her physically.)

    I remember walking into the living room later in the summer and seeing a lot of guys with helmets clearing a street.

    "What city is that?" I asked, knowing it was Chicago, but making a funny about the constant parade of cities in Vietnam that we would take, and leave and retake.

    "Chicago" Said my mother at the bridge table with 3 friends.

    "I thought we already took that city." Said I, making another ironic funny.

    The adults all got the joke.

    68 was a bad year.

    Next year in 69 I was riding my bike down San Vicente at 4 am on the way fish off the jetties on Santa Monica Beach and I passed Rosie Greer on his bike.  Quite a sight, that much person on a 10 speed.  In the dark he looked suspended above the ground on nothing till I got close and passed him.  If you don't get the connection between Rosie Greer and RFK you weren't alive then, which is ok.

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:14:44 AM PDT

    •  You certainly had your hands full (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in 68- your poor mother. Within the greater tragedies of our times, there are millions of small ones concealed inside.

      Best to you and yours.

      Some people say not to worry about the air Some people don't know shit about the... Air...

      by Dave925 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:38:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She went to the male family G.P with a lump (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and he said

        Come back at the end of the summer and if it's still there we will take a look at it.

        Probly not the way a GP would handle it now....

        "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

        by 7November on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:33:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was three years old (9+ / 0-)

    I didn't know what politics was.  I think I was four when I first started getting the idea of "soldiers" and "war" on television.

    McCain's real "base"... the sycophantic Washington press corps.

    by Leggy Starlitz on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:15:04 AM PDT

  •  i was a sophomore (11+ / 0-)

    in high school.  like you, i had watched the CA primary with interest.  he was winning and it was late, so...i went to bed happy.  woke up next morning to the headline.  i went through the day in a fog of disbelief and shock.  

    after school, my friends and i cried.  

    i've been alive to witness entirely too many assassinations and i remember where i was when i heard of each of them.  i don't want to be a witness to any more!

    okay, maybe not reagan because at the time i thought he was the antichrist, and besides, i felt for mr. brady since he was the one who took the seriously destructive bullet.

    Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information. -- Edward R. Murrow

    by labwitchy on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

  •  attempting to celebrate my fifth birthday (10+ / 0-)

    but everyone was very sad

    Secret Agent fairy Princess twirling about performing acts of graceful espionage

    by ballerina X on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:15:35 AM PDT

  •  At home (7+ / 0-)

    I was home I guess.  As I was just a couple months past my sixth birthday, I have no memory of the events of 40 years ago.

    Ironically though, it would be later than year that I did become cognizant of world events and remember them.  My earliest big memory is watching the liftoff of Apollo 8 that December.

    For all the horrible things that happened in 1968- the protests, the murders of Dr. King and RFK, the riots in Chicago- Apollo 8 was a shining example of good and hope.

    As that mission ended, one woman sent NASA a telegram, "Thank you for saving 1968."

    Yes, Apollo 8 was awesome, but one must always ask, "What if June 5th never happened?"

    To the GOP: "You have sat here too long for any good you have done. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!"

    by oxfdblue on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:15:38 AM PDT

    •  It's interesting to me that so many people (7+ / 0-)

      think of 1968 as a horrible year.  It was, indeed, from a political standpoint.  It seems very chaotic, looking back on it.  But in some ways it was a very empowering year, too.  There was a sense of purpose and unity in opposing the war, the violence, the racism, that has been largely absent since then, until recently.  It was a somewhat more desperate "yes, we can" feeling  than in this year, for sure.  Even more of a "yes, we must", but in so many ways, we did not succeed (Nixon won, for starters).  In some we did proceed on a good path that ultimately led to success (Obama, for starters).

      Mike: "I miss my sense of outrage." Kim: "I know... What was it like?" [Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury (from memory)]

      by berkeleybarb on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was 8 years old (10+ / 0-)

    I was a McCarthy supporter - I'd decided on him after reading an article about the campaign in the local paper, and even persuaded my parents to take me to a rally.

    That morning my little brother (then 4) came up to me and told me that Bobby Kennedy had been shot. I tried to convince him that it was John, not Bobby, who had been shot. My mother came in to the room and told me the news.

    Sad, sad, mad times.

  •  17 years from being born (9+ / 0-)

    But I still can see what a great man he was

    "There is nothing wrong with America can't be cured by what is right with America" -Bill Clinton

    by SensibleDemocrat on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:17:53 AM PDT

  •  My High School Graduation night ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... 'way after the ceremony, at a drive in movie, Fantastic (Raquel Welch) Voyage, when the announcement of the shooting came out of the in-car loudspeaker.

    No chicken should follow John McCain across that bloody road!

    by MT Spaces on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:19:17 AM PDT

  •  I was rolling on the floor (10+ / 0-)

    with a cylindrical Tinker Toys' container tied to my back, pretending I was Lloyd Bridges in "Sea Hunt."

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:20:54 AM PDT

  •  Our long national nightmare actually started with (9+ / 0-)

    JFK's assassination in 1963.  The whole country walked around in a fog for weeks, months, some of us are still affected by it.

    Then Ted Kennedy was in a plane crash, Martin Luther King was shot, Bobbie was shot, we were like the living dead.  We all knew something was very wrong, but we were told everything was fine, all these lone gunmen running around killing the most charismatic leaders of our time.  

    Then Teddie was involved in Chapaquidic in 1969.  That was pretty much the end of real presidential aspirations by the Kennedy family.  They got the message.

    People may think that I am tinfoil hat material, but I don't believe any of it was by accident or executed by a lone gunman.  

    My only hope is that we can somehow wrest this country from the PTB who have orchestrated everything for years.

  •  Where was I? (5+ / 0-)

    About here.

    You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!

    by Moody Loner on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:22:40 AM PDT

  •  Actually watching it unfold... (11+ / 0-)

    I too was a 14 year old Junior High school kid.  But my mom let me watch it and I actually stayed up past midnight.  I was in my bed watching it on a little black and white T.V. with rabbit ears.  When I say him give that peace/victory sign and then wipe his hair away I almost cried out loud.  You see I was already beginning to work on his campaign and I was scheduled to begin full time during the summer on that following Saturday.  

    My mom had just left the room when the shots rang out. I watched the whole thing unfold. It seemed in slow motion.  I remember Rosie Grier yelling and people crying.  

    It had such a profound effect on me that to this very day, I kid you not, I cannot watch the scene replayed on TV.  I can't even look at that picture they always show of him lying on the floor with a rosary in his bloodied hand. In fact I am teary eyed typing this even 40 years later.

    So I prefer to remember the man I admired.  Strong, determined and bold.  I have a picture of Bobby (he will always be just Bobby to me and millions of others) on my office wall that I am looking at right now.

    I am an adult now and I know about his womanizing, his ruthlessness in dealing with people and all his other weaknesses.  And you know what, I don't care.  He was and is my hero and always will be.

    Good rest in peach, Bobby we still love you.

  •  I was 10... my family was really excited because (7+ / 0-)

    Bobby was the real deal... the man to help
    change things and make it better for the
    real people.

    We were watching the tee-vee when it happened,
    having been allowed to stay up late for the
    special occasion being out of school
    for the summer vacation.

    After John and then Martin, Bobby's
    death seemed like the end of the world.
    Things were so surreal.  We all cried.
    That was the first time I ever saw
    my dad cry.

    It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment. Ansel Adams -6.5 -6.75

    by Statusquomustgo on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:25:38 AM PDT

  •  I did not hear about it (7+ / 0-)

    until after he was dead because of the time difference.  I had watched every moment of the campaign because at age 13 (almost 14,) I really believed he was going to win.  After his death, all I remember is darkness and my mother so worried about me because I would not eat, could not sleep.  Always have been a political geek and I even tried to stay home from first grade for JFK's inauguration, so this, the last of three horrific deaths in my young life (JFK, MLK JR and RFK) left me despondent.  I, too, see the dream being fulfilled this year.  I cannot and will not believe anything else.  

    Hillary Clinton, running for President of the Relevant States of America!

    by MufsMom on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:26:30 AM PDT

  •  I was in San Jose, California. (12+ / 0-)

    I was nine going on 10.  My mother voted for Eugene McCarthy that day, not because she wanted McCarthy to be president but because she was afraid that if Bobby Kennedy was elected, he would be assassinated.

    That night, I woke up to the sobs of my mother in the next room.  I knew right away that Bobby Kennedy had been shot.

    My mother sent me to school the next day with a Rosary to pray for Kennedy.

  •  I woke up that morning and was stunned. (9+ / 0-)

    That evening, I went to bed assuming that RFK had won the state.  I was in college and spent the evening studying with breaks to check results.  I can still remember the feeling in my gut when the first thing I heard  on the morning news was the assassination .  It was awful.

    You had to be 21 to vote then and I registered a month later that July and have voted in every single election, local, state and national since. I have not voted for a Reagan, a Bush, or a Nixon.

    And as my stepson happily pointed out yesterday on his birthday, " were there to see the social changes in sixties and now you'll witness the nomination and election of a black man as president."  

    Big smile !

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by AllanTBG on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:27:21 AM PDT

  •  Where I was (7+ / 0-)
    I wasn't born yet.

    I don't remember the moon landings, either.

    I'm 35 years old with gray hairs in my beard. I'm married. I'm saving for retirement. I'm working on a second Masters degree. But I've never experienced a Democratic party that has an actual, no-bullshit, fighting liberal in the mould of JFK and RFK on the ticket.

    It's awesome.

    •  Addendum (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arlam, willyr, Dave925
      I would add this to the above comment if there was an option, just to fill out my perspective. Bear with me -- there's a point.

      Growing up my childhood memories were Ronald Reagan and Rambo, Harold Washington and Ed Vrdolyak, video games, eMpTyV, the failure of the ERA, discussions about which street gangs ruled which neighborhoods, AIDS coming into the public consciousness out of nowhere, and the Tylenol crisis.

      The 1960s seemed like a romantic time then, a time of protest and peace and love. A lot of kids my age wished we could have lived back then. In contrast, people my own age seemed shallow, stupid, disinterested and afraid.

      This was even reflected in my choice of music. Growing up, probably the two musical acts that resonated with me the most were The Beatles and the Dead Kennedys. Think about that for a second. The first was born directly out of the Camelot era. The second was smart-assed, highly political punk rock, and spoke to the cynicism of the age after the "torpedoing of the American Dream." The very name of the band tapped into the pain of JFK/MLK/RFK. (And in retrospect, with the exception of front man Jello Biafra, they were just terrible.)

      So in some ways, while the Obama era looks really cool, I worry that I might end up a dinosaur: a cautious, hard-nosed cynic in a sea of hope. That'll just be the way my generation is, I guess.

  •  Edinburgh, Scotland (8+ / 0-)

    I was one of the thousands of college kids doing a junior year abroad in Europe.  

    It was the end of the year; I'm pretty sure I had an exam that day.  This was the second shock we had gone through--the first being MLK, Jr.'s assassination in May (I was in Vienna; I and my friends couldn't find an English language newspaper, so we sat in a dark dive, drinking beer and trying to translate the German and Austrian newspapers.)

    This second assassination was incredibly bewildering; I had several American friends  from California who had been following RFK and the primary there closely--and they were devastated  One memory in particular stands out:

    I was going through the cafeteria line at the student union. There wasn't much you could buy there, but you could get a decent cup of coffee (and I recall that the Scots loved to dump spoonfuls of brown sugar in their coffee).  I recall going through the line with my cup of coffee, and getting to the cashier at the end of the line.  I remember her vividly;  dark, maybe black hair, cute face, a deep Scottish accent.  And I recall what she said: "I'm so very sorry to hear about your senator."

    A was from Ohio.  Bobby was senator from New York.  I paused; he wasn't my senator.  But then I realized, yes, he was--he was our senator: every American college student abroad.

  •  A little over five years from being born. (5+ / 0-)

    My parents were both in college at University of Illinois - a little over a year before they got married.

    Proud to live in a Blue State!

    by Sister Havana on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:29:23 AM PDT

  •  Junior in high school (8+ / 0-)

    I was volunteering on his campaign on weekends.

    I heard about the shooting on the Today show as I was getting ready for school. I simultaneously heard about his win in the California primary and the shooting.

    "Now it's on to Chicago and let's win there"

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:32:02 AM PDT

  •  On the couch with a bad case of mono (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, Panda, snazzzybird

    I was a freshman in high school.  On the morning of the 6th, Mom had just handed me a glass of limeade, the better to soothe my strep-coated throat.  It burned so badly going down.  Then Mom turned on the tv for me, and  the news of Bobby Kennedy's death wired itself into my brain with that burning limeade (neurons that fire together, wire together, and all that...).

    This after JFK and MLK, was too much to bear.  It seemed that morning as if the world had gone painfully mad.

  •  six years old . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925

    . . . coming down the stairs for breakfast, saw my family all around the dining room table, looking incredibly upset. My sister told me the news


    still just so sad

  •  Sixth Armored Cavalry Regiment (7+ / 0-)

    Ft. Meade, Maryland. We were deployed to the riots of Washington, DC in March 1968 when MLK was killed. Heard MLK preach at Princeton University Chapel in 1962.  

  •  I was 10 days short of my... (8+ / 0-)

    ...28th birthday riding to work with a colleague.  He was a Kennedy supporter, I supported McCarthy.  When he turned on the radio it was the first thing we heard.  I remember exactly where we were at the time (just passing the Denver zoo).  My colleague broke into tears and had to pull the car over and park.  He was so distraught I had to drive the rest of the way to work.
    It was one of the horrible events of the worst year -1968.  The final insult was the election of Richard Milhouse Nixon.

    Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. -8.25 / -5.64

    by carver on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:43:30 AM PDT

  •  I was a McCarthy delegate (5+ / 0-)

    and so had mixed feelings about RFK "usurping" (as I considered it) the anti-war mantle, so I wasn't that thrilled about his California victory.

    But I woke up in the middle of the night - having left the TV going) and it was a huge shock.

    Most touching thing, which I will never forget, was the train that carried his body back to D.C. and the people standing by the railroad tracks saying farewell

    We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. - J. Edgar Hoover

    by tiponeill on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:44:03 AM PDT

    •  Such an outpouring of national grief (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      had not been seen since the train that took Lincoln back to Springfield or the one that took FDR from Warm Springs, GA back to D.C.

      It was so very sad, sharing the grief of millions.

      Some people say not to worry about the air Some people don't know shit about the... Air...

      by Dave925 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:16:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I stayed up late on the east coast ... (5+ / 0-)

    Listening, in the NYC suburbs, to KDKA Pittsburgh.  The Pirates were playing the Dodgers out in L.A.  As a hereditary Dodger fan, I was intent through the static because Don Drysdale, that night, was trying to pitch his sixth straight shutout (he did).  I remember the Pirate announcer saying the crowd was not a sellout because of the big primary that evening.  I fell asleep at about 2 a.m. ... and awoke to radio news even on the music stations ... and heard the news.   I'll also never forget the funeral train ... in later years I moved to Philly and worked with aome people who stood trackside.

    Dear Democratic Party: Win This One or Just Disband

    by Tuffie on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:44:34 AM PDT

  •  An Amazing Time (5+ / 0-)

    I was volunteering for McCarthy, so I had not been a fan of RFK.  Still, the murder, following so close on Dr. King's murder, left a sense that all was lost in America.  Most of us would not have thought that democracy in America would last very long, and that fascism was right around the corner.  As bad as the past 40 years have been in many ways, the tenacity of democracy is remarkable.  The nightmare ends November 4.

  •  I was 20 (6+ / 0-)

    and was home from college for the summer. I'd spent much of the year in activism and barely stayed in school. I woke up late that day and put on some music. I didn't find out until early afternoon, when a friend from Chicago came to visit. I didn't believe him at first. It was just too awful to be true. I don't have the words to describe how we felt.

    What I know at 60 is this: Barack Obama is, in part, the fruition of much that happened in those years and the backlash against it. It's been a long, ugly haul, but for the first time since then, I have actual hope.

    Thanks for the most interesting diary.

    "This chamber reeks of blood." -- Sen George McGovern, 1970

    by cotterperson on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:46:19 AM PDT

    •  That's The Quote (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, Dave925, snazzzybird

      I was looking for from McGovern.  See another diary about a new documentary about the McGovern campaign.

      •  That would be (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, willyr

        One Bright Shining Moment

        I started watching it the other night and realized I'd need a little more preparation. '72 was the first year I was eligible to vote and I was active for McGovern, much to the derisions of the local dominant wingnuts. Here was an incredibly decent, intelligent and courageous man, an authentic war hero who became the first democrat to be smeared incessantly by the Pukes and their media. It pissed me off then and it pisses me off now.

        America seriously went off the tracks with that election. We had a chance to rectify the mis-deeds of the post war years and quite obliviously blew it.

        I have not forgotten and I sure as hell have not forgiven- though I am certain George McGovern has. But then, George McGovern is a much better man than I ever hoped to be.

        Some people say not to worry about the air Some people don't know shit about the... Air...

        by Dave925 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:04:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  George is a real hero (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Dave925, Panda

          To go up against Nixxon and his band of war criminals took a a ton of courage.

          I quit college to work for his election, even though I knew he'd lose.

          I'm glad he's around to see the repudiation of Nixxon-Reagan-BushBush by the American people.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 03:24:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Three years from being born. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, Panda, snazzzybird

    I wasn't there, I can't know - but I listen to those who were there, and I read what he said, and I weep for what might have been.

  •  The Mindless Menace of Violence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, Panda, snazzzybird

    RFK's speech on violence after King's assassination

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:52:48 AM PDT

  •  I have no Idea (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, Panda, snazzzybird

    I was 10

    But I do know Politics has been fucked up since. Carter was the reprieve from the "complex". And Look what they did to him - made him look weak and powerless.

    Caroline Kennedy - Believes in Obama - God I HOPE this is for real!!!

    Vote your Conscience - Vote for John Edwards!!! ************************************ Kucinich "We know the State of the Union... It's a lie."

    by SkiBumLee on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:53:06 AM PDT

  •  5 yrs old and an hour from where it happened (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, snazzzybird

    I remember the next day my parents being terribly upset. I remember chaos on the TV. I remember the name Sirhan Sirhan, which became indelibly etched into my brain.

    Violence and politics, the war at home over the war in Asia, labor struggles, women's rights .... so much strife. That was the context of my political development, of most of our political development here.

    I am waiting for someone to really discover America and wail ~ L.Ferlinghetti

    by cosmic debris on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:53:13 AM PDT

  •  I was 13 years old in Jr. High. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dave925, snazzzybird

    I stayed up late to watch the returns, but turned the TV off right when RFK stepped up to the podium to speak. (I was a McCarthy supporter)

    The next morning we shot archery in PE. Everyone was in tears, but were shooting bullseyes for the children of RFK. 10 kids, one on the way (as I recall)

    Bring me a blind camel.

    by pucklady on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:55:17 AM PDT

  •  We're the same age, Dave925 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Panda

    I was in 9th grade, in junior high.  School was still in session -- it lasted so much longer into the summer in those days, and started in September -- but I think we were having final exams.  I remember being in PE class, in the gym in street clothers.  We girls were talking it about it, very quietly and solemnly... After Martin Luther King so recently, and JFK on my 10th birthday, I was really wondering what kind of world we were living in.

    McCain '08: Same crap, different asshole. -- Hunter

    by snazzzybird on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 09:56:39 AM PDT

  •  I was pretty young (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosmic debris, Dave925

    9 years old, almost 10.  It was an early summer morning in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I remember getting up and having some cereal (my older brother and sister were still asleep and both my parents were at work), and going outside to get on my bike.  

    I was barely down the driveway, when a friend from next door scooted up on his bike and said "Did you hear?  Bobby Kennedy was killed!"  

    I was just a young kid, but it hit me in the gut.  I remember (barely) being home sick when JFK's funeral was on the TV.  My Mom was so upset it scared me.

    Then I remember MLK being murdered and worrying that the angry racism I'd seen growing up would prevail (I had a secret crush then on Dionne Warwick and never understood why skin color mattered so much to some people).

    I remember liking Bobby Kennedy.  He seemed so young and energetic - a huge change from LBJ, who I had viewed with suspicion - not sure why, but probably because my parents (both Democrats) didn't care that much for him.  

    His death seemed to close an era.  Call me a sap, but I still get choked up when I hear Dion's Abraham, Martin, and John.

  •  My family had just pulled into a Flagstaff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Arizona motel after camping in a tent for several days at the Grand Canyon. We were devastated. It was the summer before I started high school.

    Sometimes the magic works.......sometimes it doesn't

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:01:23 AM PDT

  •  RFK (5+ / 0-)

    I was 16 and had gone to work as a volunteer for RFK because I wanted to get closer to a girl that also volunteered there. The infatuation with the girl passed but the passion for politics grew!

    That night I was standing in front of an appliance store on 3rd avenue in Chula Vista, CA.  We were  watching the victory celebration on a demonstration T.V. in the window that broadcast in 'living color!'

    God rest the souls of RFK and those that would not have been lost in Vietnam had he won!

    God damn those who are responsible for taking him away!

    This is my view. I am interested in yours.

    by wreckincrew on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:01:44 AM PDT

  •  I was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Panda

    living in Reno, Nevada.  I had been following Bobby's campaign and was interested in how California would turn out.  I watched it on TV that night.

    I was 28 years old and the deaths of JFK and MLK were already a sickening feeling like a lump of lead in my stomach that wouldn't go away.  When I saw Bobby go down I was in a state of total incomprehension.  I remember saying, if not shouting, "What is wrong with this country?  How can these things keep happening in MY country?"  The sense of loss and sadness were overwhelming.  I couldn't imagine how his family could possibly survive another horror such as this.  I couldn't imagine how this country could survive it.  I didn't know if I could survive it.

    It was huge, the sadness we all carried.  Just huge.

    I don't ever want to see it or feel it again.  We are not some country of 3rd world rebels that solves our political situations by killing off our opponents, or takes revenge for real or imagined misdeeds by "eliminating" them.  That was what I thought in 1968 and that is what I think now.

    I was already one who saw no viable reason for people to have guns, but these events in the 60's and please throw Kent State into that mix too, were the total convincers to me that guns were not a good thing.  

    The 60's were crazy, illuminating, wild, fun, horrible, and a time many of us will never forget.

    I still have the image of the hippie putting a flower into the barrel of the rifle held by a National Guardsman clearly in my mind.  

    *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

    by Shirl In Idaho on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:10:43 AM PDT

  •  I remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Panda

    when my little Italian grandmother (who couldn't read or write English) and I stayed up late to see JFK win the 1960 election. I remember going to school and running into a classmate whose parents voted for Nixon. I couldn't wait to rub it in. When he was assassinated, I couldn't tear myself away from the TV. I think after losing JFK and MLK, I was emotionally spent. After 'hearing' that he was shot, I refused to watch it. I just couldn't bare to watch another one of our great leaders taken from us.

    I highly recommend the movie "Bobby". Emilio Estevez does an incredible job of directing the movie. It focuses on the "times" and hints at how having RFK as president would affect the country.

  •  I wasn't born yet. Both of my parents were 18 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Panda

    in 1968.

    IGTNT: Remembering our fallen soldiers

    by a girl in MI on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 10:27:41 AM PDT

  •  Freshman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In my UCLA dorm room watching it on TV. My roommate and several other dorm mates were at the Ambassador celebrating with Students for Kennedy.  

    All I wanted was a Pepsi....

    by marcim on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 11:53:35 AM PDT

  •  high school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    chicago illinois

  •  Beautiful diary, Dave. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your election as Class President was overshadowed by one of the worst days of our young lives. Rec'd and rec'd. The horror, the pain, the hole; all are still real and unforgettable.

    I was 15. I come from a very politically vocal family. I was already writing LTEs. Vietnam; boys I knew or had known, it was frightening.... you know. We all seemed more political back then. That night I was elated and stayed up way too late, but not late enough to witness what I would hear through the bathroom door early the next morning, "They've killed Bobby.." it was my father, bereft, actually crying, trying to tell me how...why. What? No. No. It couldn't be. Just NO!  NOOOO!!!!

    Both of my parents had stayed up all night, hoping... My mother was inconsolable, she'd been in Santa Barbara when he came to speak and he'd reached out to touch her hand, she recalls that moment still with awe and love for the man.  If only. It's another day my family mourns as if Bobby was our own family member....and he was in spirit and soul and all the ways that matter.  

    That day and many to follow were horrendously painful. The "news" was on all the time in everyone's homes, radio,  television. School was a waste of time. Details seemed to come out in dribs and drabs, who is this guy who shot him, why? What's the deal with the stuff in his apartment? A's always a loner. It would be called Tinfoil now but back then it was real. They were killing Kennedys. It was acceptable to ask questions then too. We questioned authority, with good reason.   Rosey Grier; how that man loved Bobby, he saw what we saw. It was so clear he would have taken those bullets had he been able.  His tears were our tears.

    I think the  coup d’état occurred on November 22nd 1963, that horrible day I also recall with clarity even though I was only 11 and in England.  This country's dreams and hopes were stolen by the Bush family and their fellow thugs. From consorting-with-enemy-Prescott who was a traitor to this country and an ally of Hitler's, to the current shrub of the family tree from HELL....also guilty of treason. The BFEE. Greedy bastards. Anything for money, no ethics, no souls. They make Nixon seem loving and charming by comparison.

    They had to kill that which they feared most, a good and decent man. Teddy's eulogy will always hurt deeply. This country's loss is deep. It breaks my heart every time I hear it. And that man has been sorely maligned by the bastards on the right and still stands up alone in the Senate to beg his colleagues to raise the minimum wage, a magnificent Kennedy speech, yet again. It's worth hearing again. And again.

    This might be the last chance we have to get it back, the inspiration is there, the's reminiscent of the late 60s but without a draft (as in all eligible males born up to 1955) it hasn't had the same urgency as then. That was the smartest move Bush and his thugs made...a draft affects too many and Dover is off limits. Just torture the same troops over and over again. Keep it small. Nice and quiet. Hushed up. Clever well thought out plans. I don't believe any bit of this "just happened", it's been in their plan since the end of WWII. None of it has been explained to my satisfaction. I still have a LOT of questions. And I believe the Kennedy's knew all along what was at stake. For that, they died.

    Three weeks later I turned 16 and on my birthday got my CA driver's license. I was free...but for what sort of a future? To fight this fight over and over again until we get it right perhaps. To back up our children for what we know they can do to change everything.  I'm proud of the Echo Boomers, they remind me of, well....US.  They care. There IS hope again.

    Gahzette ~ "At all costs, let's laugh!"

    by Panda on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 01:28:22 PM PDT

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