(Originally published on JUNE 6TH, 2019)
On June 6th, 1944, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy for the final assault on Hitler's armies. Thousands of American soldiers arrived on the battered coast of Europe that day, carrying with them the hope of a new world, free from want and fear.
On June 6th, 1968, the last American leader to embody that hope died, the victim of assassination.
Robert Francis Kennedy had announced his presidency on a platform that would seem bizarre to us today: "I run to seek new policies - policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old––in this country and around the rest of the world. I run for the presidency because I want the United States of America to stand for hope instead of despair, for reconciliation...instead of the growing risk of world war."
Three months later he would be dead, the last in a series of four history-distorting assassinations that began with his brother, the president, and carried on through human rights champions Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The spirit that stormed the beaches of France in 1944 had grown sick. Dwight D. Eisenhower had led the United States to victory against the Nazis; by 1961, he felt compelled to warn his fellow countrymen that a “military-industrial complex” had actually won the day and now posed a mortal threat to democracy.
Seven years and a string of political murders later, up to our necks in the bloodbath of Vietnam, the inner-cities in rebellion, the needs of millions of poor Americans ignored, Robert Kennedy tried to shake us out of our sickness: "We cannot continue to deny and postpone the demands of our own people, while spending billions in the name of freedom elsewhere around the globe".
This June 6th, remember the spirit of hope that won in Europe and the last soldier to die in its defense at home, Robert Francis Kennedy.
Sign the petition, and help revive the spirit.