JFK & RFK by Gary Bahr

I remember 1963… and the past 50 years…I was born and raised an Eisenhower Republican.  I voted the first time for Nixon. I would take that back now.

In death, JFK, changed my mind about him as I watched a nation and a world mourn the man. I shed a tear too when John John, the President’s son, saluted his Dad at the funeral.
Before JFK was killed, I had stood in Arlington Cemetery on a spot that was yet unused and thought what a nice spot to be buried.  JFK would be buried there a year later. RFK would also be buried next to him.
By the time RFK was in politics, I loved the Kennedy’s. They turned me to support equality for all, medical care for all, America for all.
Robert became my hero.
I had a chance to shake his hand when I was in college debate in Portland. Oregon. We were both staying in the same hotel. Neither of us knew the other was there.  I went to run down stairs rather than take the elevator. Up came first a dog followed by a smaller man who I looked back to see if it was Robert Kennedy. It was him. He paused. I froze, looked in his eyes, and in a second we both continued on our way. Of course I should have said hi! I missed my chance to shake his hand.
The next day he held a rally in downtown Portland. I went to see him standing on the roof of a car.
I would see him again in Salem, Oregon on the back of a train and wave. I was holding my son Trenton. His eyes looked sad. He lost in Oregon and won in California days later. I sat up all night to watch his win and hear the shots and was glued to the TV until they announced his death. Life and politics never were the same after that day.
I do not even recognize the current Republican Party and what it stands for. Eisenhower would not recognize it either. Lincoln weeps.
Also see GaryBahr.com.
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