A Crash and a Killing: June 5, 1968


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I was driving out of the Lincoln Tunnel, normal speed, thinking about the job interview I had just finished with a human resources guy at J.Walter Thompson. I wanted to be one of the “Mad Men” decades before the TV show brought us the 1960’s focus on a nation’s willingness to be coopted by symbols, not substance. Shame on me. But I could turn a phrase and I was fresh out of college with a short-sighted ego.

A semi-tractor-trailer began to veer(driver asleep) and in a blur my car was spinning around. Everything went gray–my heart didn’t have time to beat fast. But I got my miracle. Not injured. Car totaled.

Eight hours later, a little after midnight, I was listening to rock on the radio when a voice cut in. Robert F. Kennedy has been shot in a “ballroom” at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. A few minutes later: Robert F. Kennedy is dead at 42.

Whatever sorrow I had about the loss of a car was gone, replaced by the death of a man I thought could straighten our country.

I always  drive extra carefully on June 5 and without fail, I think of RFK and what we’ll never know.

4 thoughts on “A Crash and a Killing: June 5, 1968

  1. We lived through the same history. I was 19 and in boot camp when RFK was killed, and you are right, he would have been remarkable. Glad you survived and to not have been hurt is very lucky indeed.

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  2. I was 16, living in Long Beach when this happened. We had just experienced ML King’s death and here we lost Bobby too. The scene at the Ambassador Hotel played on the LA news over and over again. It seemed to me, as a kid, that nothing was certain and that life was in chaos and nothing would ever be the same again….. Then summer of 1969 brought the Manson murders. Pretty scary times there as well. Violent times. Life changing.

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