50 Years after Bobby ©



Back in January I wrote a column called “Abraham, Martin and John” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK’s assassination and what it meant to our nation.


This morning I like to focus on Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, also 50 years ago on June 6th, 68.


Fifty years ago this month  marked one of the most tragic events in American political life with the horrible assassination of Bobby Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles . A little past midnight on June 5th he gave a brief victory speech after winning the California primary rather handily from Eugene McCarthy. He stepped  off the stage and took a shortcut through the kitchen to shake hands with the staff there. That’s where he was shot multiple times at close range by 24 year old Sirhan Sirhan, who is still serving out his life sentence in San Diego county, CA.


That was right in the middle of the most tumultuous decade in my lifetime, even more than today. Consider these events of that era:

  • Nov., 1963 John Kennedy assassination
  • August, 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles
  • July, 1967 Detroit riots
  • April, 1968 Martin Luther King assassination
  • Violent Vietnam War protest almost daily on the news
  • March, 1968 Lyndon Johnson  withdrawal from presidential election
  • June, 1968  Bobby Kennedy assassination


And then the Watergate scandal and resignation of Richard Nixon in August of 1974, preceded by the resignation and conviction of his VP, Spiro Agnew, the previous year. I don’t believe there has been another decade like it in our lifetimes as seniors.


Because this is the 50th year anniversary of RFK’s assassination, I’ve been reading a bit about it and then this past weekend we watched a 2018 Netflix special called “Bobby Kennedy for President”. It’s a one season TV series with several episodes . We found it to be well done and well worth watching. It really took us back to those turbulent years that we hadn’t thought much about recently.


On a personal level, Bobby’s assignation was only about a month after I met my wife to be while living and working in Detroit. I was working for Chrysler in a dream job I had worked toward for several years and she was attending Wayne state University in downtown Detroit just blocks away from the epicenter of the recent Detroit riots the previous summer. Both of us were so in love (and continue to be after 50 years !!!) that we weren’t paying as much attention to the news of the day as we were to each other. So it was a good refresher for what we should have been paying more attention to at the time.


For those of you who are regular readers of this column, you know I’m a committed constitutional conservative. But after watching this series,  I can say that Bobby Kennedy was a Democrat that I might have been able to vote for back in the day. He was a compassionate leader committed to reconciling our racial divide. Regardless of my vote, I believe that he would have been elected (instead of Richard Nixon) had he not been assassinated 50 years ago. How different our nation’s recent history might have been!


Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!


Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com


Image credit to mediaandmayhem.com

#visitingangels #allaboutseniors #kennedy #history #fiftyyearsago

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