Bobby Kennedy Dies
Twenty-six hours after Robert Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles following his victory in the California primary, press aide Frank Mankiewicz stepped to the podium at the press area across from Good Samaritan Hospital to deliver this news:
Although I was only five, it is a day I remember vividly, as the shooting the night before was played over and over again. Growing up Catholic in New England at this time, was to grow up with the Kennedy’s as heroes and I was no different.
I remember running home from Little League practice to watch his funeral, where his brother Ted gave this stirring eulogy.
Twenty years later, I was fortunate enough to attend a memorial mass at his grave. Coming during an election year, in the twilight of the Reagan administration and zenith of the Moral Majority, it was entitled a mass of “Remembrance and Re-dedication” In attendance and participating were the Kennedy family, Cesar Chavez, John Glenn, Martin Luther King III and Andy Williams among others. The service was a moving reminder of how Bobby Kennedy’s political beliefs were an extension of his Catholic faith.
Five years later, it was a more celebratory service, as in attendance was the new President William Jefferson Clinton.
I have been fortunate to meet many people connected to Bobby in one way or another, including hearing a South African tell Congressman Patrick Kennedy about the impact of Kennedy’s visit to South Africa and writing a column on “What Would Bobby Do” with the help of his longtime aide and my law professor Peter Edelman.
Bobby Kennnedy’s work continues through the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.