It’s rare that we stray away from local issues in this editorial/opinion space, but it’s worth commemorating the anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s visit to Hamtramck and the Detroit area 50 years ago this past week.
In last week’s issue we re-ran an updated version of Greg Kowalski’s The Lore of Hamtramck column on that visit.
Kowalski is Hamtramck’s historian, and he has written numerous books about the city. His recounting of that visit is fascinating, and if you have not read it yet, you can find it on our website: www.hamtramckreview.com.
For folks of a certain age – this editor included – Robert “Bobby” Kennedy represented a unique opportunity to steer this country in a different direction.
It was, for many, a rare moment of hope.
Bobby Kennedy was likely to become the Democratic candidate for president back in 1968. That dream was cut short by an assassin’s bullet in Los Angeles a month after he visited here.
Kennedy was an inspiration for many during a tumultuous time in America. The country was deeply divided about the ongoing Vietnam War and social injustice issues and it was also reeling from the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April of 1968.
When Kennedy was shot down, there was a tangible fear that America was spinning out of control.
Kennedy sparked a generation – just like his brother, John F. Kennedy, did when he was president. His brother was also killed by an assassin in 1963.
John Kennedy famously motivated this country when he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
That spurred many young people to volunteer with a number of social service organizations, including the Peace Corps, which President Kennedy created after taking office.
Bobby Kennedy also left us with this piece of inspiration:
“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
It’s time to ask why not again.
This country is once again deeply divided politically. Soon, students in high school will be graduating and entering the world. We hope they follow the wisdom of Bobby Kennedy, and dream of things not dreamt of that will make this world a better place.