Friday 17 August 2018

Robert F Kennedy’s birthplace marking 50 years since his assassination

The US Senator and presidential candidate was shot by an assassin as he left a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary in 1968.

Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy, speaks during the Celebration of the Life of Robert F Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery (Cliff Owen/AP)
Matteo Renzi, former prime minister of Italy, speaks during the Celebration of the Life of Robert F Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery (Cliff Owen/AP)

By Tracee M Herbaugh, Associated Press

Anecdotes and remembrances of John F Kennedy’s younger brother on the 50th anniversary of his death highlighted a special “Jack and Bobby” tour at the former president’s birthplace on Wednesday.

Robert F Kennedy died on June 6 1968, a day after the US Senator and presidential candidate was shot by an assassin as he left a Los Angeles hotel after winning the California primary.

The John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site hosted visitors who fondly recalled Bobby Kennedy’s impact on civil and human rights.

The 75-minute walking tour went from JFK’s birthplace in Brookline, a Boston suburb, to the family’s second home in Brookline where RFK was born.

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The suburban Boston house where Robert F Kennedy was born, now a national historic site in tribute to his more famous brother, is holding a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of RFK’s assassination (Steven Senne/AP)

Now a private residence, the Kennedys lived there from 1920-1927.

“As a young child, I remember the assassinations of Jack Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr and Bobby,” said Aurelie Catherine Cormier, 61, of Needham, Massachusetts, one of about 15 people in the tour group.

“They were my heroes, and they had a great influence on this country.”

Ms Cormier later remarked Bobby was her “favourite” Kennedy.

Jason Atsales, a park ranger at the 35th president’s birthplace, said Bobby Kennedy was shy, pious, rule-abiding and a deep-thinker, as a child.

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Robert F Kennedy shakes hands with people in a crowd while campaigning for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination in Philadelphia (Warren Winterbottom/AP)

He said Bobby was known for being his mother’s “Little Pet”.

“There was great competition in this family,” Mr Atsales said. “Bobby’s biggest challenge growing up was asserting himself with his older brothers and sisters.”

Mr Atsales shared several Bobby Kennedy anecdotes.

He said the future confidant of President Kennedy once worked a newspaper delivery boy, except instead of delivering the papers by biking or walking, Kennedy used the family’s chauffeured Rolls Royce.

In another story, Bobby’s father Joe Kennedy promised to give the children 1,000 dollars each if they made it to age 18 without smoking cigarettes.

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Robert Kennedy aide Paul Schrade, who also was shot as he walked behind Kennedy in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel, points to a Los Angeles Times news article at his home in Los Angeles (Damian Dovarganes/AP)

Joe promised the children an additional 1,000 dollars if they made it to 21 without consuming alcohol.

“Bobby was the only one of the brothers who got the money,” Mr Atsales said.

Robert Kennedy was US senator from New York when he began his presidential campaign and had served as attorney general in his brother’s administration.

He was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel by Sirhan Sirhan.

Press Association

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