Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sunday Blog Chatter: Arlington At Night

I was ten years old the day Robert Kennedy died. I did not know that forty years later, the words I heard then, coming from the black and white television as I sat silently watching with my parents, would profoundly affect me today. Many of you surely remember the same.
"My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

(Robert Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy 1963)

Two years before his death on June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy addressed an audience of university students in Cape Town, South Africa. I keep a vintage book of his speeches, including this one, on a table in my living room. Parts of it were later quoted by his brother, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, and became part of his eulogy......."Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance......."

Whatever your political affiliation or beliefs, I challenge you to lay them aside for just awhile and listen to a man who for a moment of time stood over the casket of his brother and delivered a eulogy of hope.
To me, they are as moving today as on the day they were spoken in St. Patrick's Cathedral on June 8, 1968.
They still bring me ripples of hope.
Please listen.

"Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live."

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Daisy said...

Mimi, I would like to pass along my crown of daisies to you. Wear it in peace and happiness!

Akelamalu said...

So moving. :(

Sarge Charlie said...

I took the challenge your highness, and it has prompted me to complete a post I have been considering.


some of my thoughts, No Nixon, No Watergate, no Jimmy Carter since there was not Nixon, and maybe from the prospective of how an insignificant little man with a gun changed history.

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember hearing this speech and it is exactly what I believe about the world. Unfortunately, too many folks are not doing those things that ripple out, those things in the real world of the streets and the offices to make these small changes.

Mimi Lenox said...

Daisy - I am honored to wear your crown of daisies. Will it muss my hair? Oh fiddle!
So what if it does....a groovy peace laurel is worth it.
It'll match my tie-dye jeans.

Akelamalu - It never ceases to move me each time I hear it.

Sarge - Interesting points to consider. I await your post and will be over later.
P.S. I heard you're cooking breakfast on the porch. I'd like an omelette cooked very well with onions and ham.
Cheese...did I say cheese?

Charles - It is one of the greatest speeches of our time.
You are right about the non-activism. I hope, in my own life, I can step out of my comfort box more and more often and put into practice what his words mean.

WillThink4Wine said...

Quite a powerful post, Mimi. We are in perilous times, no doubt. I can't wait to read Sarge's post on this. Perhaps I'll read it on the patio, over coffee and a bagel.

Mimi Lenox said...

Will - I am also waiting for Sarge's post. No doubt, he is putting much effort into it. Enjoy your day. And thank you.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

This is a terrific tribute to a great man whom we never learned of his potential. Thanks for posting it...

Chiz said...

Wow.. I was moved by your post. It is really a thought provoking post.

Travis said...

Thanks for that.

Why not indeed.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bud - You're welcome.

Chiz - Lots to think about, yes.

Travis - It is a phenomenal palette of words.

Patti said...

I remember that night in 1968 when RFK was shot, just two months after MLK was killed.

Today's politicians/orators can't hold a candle to Bobby Kennedy.

barbara said...

Hi Mimi,
I 'am very touched ; these are just so powerful words.
All of us can us it as an example for Peace & good.
I was too young to remember any of this, included for JFK's period.

Thank you for sharing this.

PS. I think you would look real "peace & love" with Daisy's crown on you :)

Bond said...

How different would our lives have been if not for the death of these two brothers...

How different would the world be today?

Unfortunately we will never we must accept what we have now and try and change it for the better for the future

bundle-o-contradictions said...

I can't help but notice that so much change, generosity & brotherly (& sisterly) spirit seems to come along after a tragedy. That kind of recognition is lost in the day-to-day, don't you think?

Mimi Lenox said...

Patti - His speech from Indianapolis (I believe) the day MLK was killed was an impromptu "from the heart" masterpiece.

Barbara - They are powerful words. And I love wearing Daisy's crown!

Bond - All we know for sure is that it would have been a different landscape. No question

Autumn - Your comments are always so insightful. Well said.

Carol said...

Thank you!

That eulogy is profoundly touching.

Mimi Lenox said...

Notice: Please check your browser to make sure the address of this page is If you landed on any other url it is a stolen blog. Please notify me immediately if you do not see in your browser.
mimiwrites2005 at yahoo
Thank you - Mimi Lenox

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