Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Other Kennedy Assassination

1968 was not one of the better years of our country.  We had already lost the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.  The Vietnam War was in full swing, along with protests against it.  But there was hope for many in a certain man running for President against the President of his own party.

On June 5, 1968, I was in high school.  It would have been another day, arising to prepare to go to high school.

But I dreamed that Bobby Kennedy, running for the Presidency of the United States, had been assassinated.

Eventually, I fought myself awake to find that my clock radio had turned on and had been playing the news.  It was no dream.

Bobby Kennedy had been shot in the kitchen of the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles, California, while shaking hands with staff after a primary victory.  And he was dead.  That's according to my memory.

Except the "he was dead" part of my memory wasn't true.

Bobby Kennedy died approximately 26 hours later. He died less than six years after his brother, President John F. Kennedy, also killed by an assassin.

I know not many of us remember that Kennedy lingered for over a day before he succumbed to his wounds.  We thought.  Not again.  John Kennedy.  Martin Luther King, Jr.  Now, Bobby?

It's funny how many of us forget the details.  In fact, I had totally forgotten about those lost 26 hours.  I'm far from the only one, it would seem.  Perhaps, we were so used to other figures assassinated in the 1960's dying soon after they were attacked.

But not Bobby. 

It gets stranger.  Now, 50 years later, we wonder if we convicted the wrong person for the second Kennedy assassination.  Some want the case reopened.

If true, how did it take 50 years to figure it out?

1968 was a pivotal year for the United States.  Some of us wonder - what if Bobby hadn't been assassinated?  And what if he had become President?

For sure, our country's history would have been changed.

I was only 15.  And I will never forget.  That's what I would like to think.  But in fact, memory isn't always reliable.

That, perhaps, may be the strangest Bobby Kennedy assassination fact of all.


  1. I just finished writing about Bobby for my blog tomorrow. Alas, I do remember he lingered for a day, making it even worse in many ways. I was in college and going door-to-door in my Buffalo suburb, telling people to vote for Bobby in the NY State primary which was coming up after California. Still have some campaign lit. Still have some very unhappy memories of that year. Did not imagine I'd be here 50 years later with all the horrors of 1968 coming to the surface again.

  2. If only 2018 wasn't as interesting as 1968...

    And it is again time for the primary election here in California. Funny how those two dates are close together. The first Tuesday isn't necessarily going to be so close 50 years later. Of course, this is not a presidential election year, so less of a big deal.

  3. I didn't remember the 26 hours, but I remember the grief. It just seemed like the great men (and the things we held dear) were being taken from us and there was nothing we could do about it! Sad and scary times for the whole world. And especially for a thirteen-year-old girl from southern Alberta who was just beginning to learn about the world.

  4. So, when one is shot in the head...it becomes a question of how brain death is decided or determined (which is why I stopped allowing my organs to be donated should I die- unless my medical executor makes the decision [to ensure I AM dead, before any organs are harvested].

    (Here's my take... )https://www.adjuvancy.com/wordpress/sad-day/

  5. I remember being in elementary school when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I went to my mom and told her that they'd broken into the news to say that some king had been killed. Weird, the things you remember.

  6. I wrote about RFK too. Yes, our country would have benefitted from his leadership, whether he became POTUS or not. And yes, today there might have been more of an effort to make sure that he was not harmed in any way during those 26 hours before he died.

  7. I was only 8, I don’t have clear memories of the assassination. I do remember the somber feeling, though, watching the funeral on TV


Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, and I appreciate each one. These comments are moderated, so they may not post for several hours. If you are spam, you will find your comments in my compost heap, where they will finally serve a good purpose.