Thursday, May 31, 2018

Time Travel to 1968

Beware if you decide to time travel to your own past. It's filled with emotional triggers. CNN's recent retrospective on 1968 was difficult to watch. Few events in my life evoke the same emotion on recollection as they did in the moment. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy evoke that for me.

In 1968, my husband and I were taking graduate class work at Indiana University. Our sons attended preschool. We lived in married housing where we had a clunky 17- inch black and white TV. On it, I watched Bobby give citizens of Indianapolis the terrible news of King's death. They didn't riot as many outraged citizens did in other major cities. Somehow he forged hope in them to temper their grief, the sign of a great leader.

Two weeks later, Bobby gave a speech in the I U auditorium. I waited outside with four thousand fellow students. When they opened the doors, I almost got crushed against the glass. Fortunately a classmate whisked me inside, and we all found seats near the front. Bobby gave details of a foreign policy designed to end the war in Viet Nam and our role as the world's policeman, the main reason I intended to vote for him. I felt afraid for my country, that the war could go on long enough to snuff out my sons. He gave us hope for peace. Bobby won the Indiana primary and went on to California to follow King in death.

These two men offered a message of hope for justice and peace. Fifty years later I still grieve because no one has taken up their mantle of impassioned service. Emotional triggers can be bad as in causing me to cry or good as in leading me to write something to share with my friends.