A Look Back On 1968: Bobby Kennedy and the Wabash Cannonball

In April 1968 Bobby Kennedy (Robert Francis) was traveling through Indiana on the Wabash Cannonball. Bobby was due to arrive in my hometown of Wabash. Hence, I decided to be at the train station to greet them him. The train pulled up and I jumped up on the caboose. I shook hands and Bobby rubbed the top of my head. You couldn’t have slapped the smile from my face!

Why is that important on Martin Luther King’s Birthday?

Bobby would leave his tour of northern Indiana and arrive in Indianapolis where he was scheduled to address a a group of people in a predominately African American neighborhood. This occurred on the night of Dr. King’s assassination. Bobby was urged not to go but he insisted on giving his speech. These were his opening remarks,

“I’m only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some — some very sad news for all of you — Could you lower those signs, please? — I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.

A Dedicated Life

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it’s perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in.”

Bobby spoke very briefly to this group. He had the courage to empathize and to express his feelings in the face of extreme stress on himself and a nation.

The people applauded Bobby that night and as a boy I can’t remember crying more than 1968. Bobby would be killed in the summer of the same year. I admire Dr. King’s courage and Bobby’s thoughtfulness in his address. For a full transcript: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/rfkonmlkdeath.html

About the author: Creed is an accomplished leader and Professional Certified Coach motivated by a passionate drive to help individuals and organizations reclaim their clarity for personal achievement and organizational effectiveness.