Thursday, June 05, 2008

Crys of Anguish

40 years ago tonight I was a 10 year old boy sleeping soundly in my bed when I was awoken by the sound of the phone ringing late into the night. In my parent's house that ring at such an hour was never good news and that night was no exception. Moments later I heard my aunt, who lived with us at the time let out a cry of pure anguish.

Soon after, my parents, my aunt and I all sat in the living room staring in horror at the images coming from California on our television. Bobby had been shot.

This man who carried the hope of so many Americans on his shoulders. Who had the potential to bring a nation out of its mourning and hopelessness that began with the loss of his brother 5 years before and then Martin Luther King Jr. just months earlier. A nation divided over the war in Vietnam, a nation where the poverty in places like West Virginia led to Robert Kennedy to cry visibly at what he saw. A man that so many thought was the one that can lead us through that time of turmoil. But it was not to be.

Later that night I stood in my room praying, no begging to God to not let this happen, to not take this man from us. Even at 10 years old somehow I knew this man was important to me personally even if I didn't know why at the time.

In the 40 years since as I have read so many of his words that he spoke in that campaign, learned about his toughness as an Attorney General and yes seeing that photograph of him sitting on a rock, holding his face in his hands crying from the shock of seeing the utter poverty he just saw in Appalachia, it has been this man more then anyone else that has inspired my political beliefs. It is Robert F Kennedy that has inspired me to care about working to make this country better. I know I am just one of thousands who's lives were changed by this man.

An assassin's bullet may have taken his physical being from our presence but that bullet failed to take him from us. His beliefs, his courage, his words and his vision have and will always inspire so many of us.



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