President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Robert Kennedy
Today, on President's Day, the United States Postal Service is issuing a new commemorate Forever stamp of former President John F. Kennedy, celebrating his birth 100 years ago. For those who lived through the difficult days of the 1960s, these small reminders of JFK include memories of other great men of the times, of their hopes, of their pain and of their timely messages to us today.
With trembling voice, Senator Robert Kennedy broke the news in 1968 to a predominately African-American crowd gathered in Indianapolis: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr had been killed. Kennedy stood on the back of a flat-bed truck while his police escort watched uneasily from afar.
Kennedy spoke briefly, looking into the faces in the night, reminding those gathered of Dr. King's dedication "to love and to justice between fellow human beings." And Kennedy spoke of his own pain of losing a brother who was killed by a white man. Kennedy urged his listeners
But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poem, my — my favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote:
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
through the awful grace of God.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.In the wake of news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, while looting, rioting and violence swept across cities around the country in 1968, Indianapolis remained calm.
Not long after this dark night, Robert Kennedy was also assassinated.
Today, as we live in another difficult time, videos of Robert Kennedy's words challenge us still to spread "love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another."
Lord, let our words and actions spread your love and compassion from the deep places where you work in celebration and in pain, where you give wisdom and grace.
How About You?
What is your favorite memory of the Kennedys? Or, who is your favorite president? Please comment.