Tag Archives: Robert F. Kennedy

Explaining History to the New Generation

I have been to Arlington National Cemetery 4 times in my lifetime and each time I still get the chills walking into that place. The history and the magnitude of that place is hard to put into words and if you have never been, I would suggest making at least one trip there. Unlike the other times I have been to Arlington in which I would been in a rush to get to the next stops on our Washington D.C tour, this time I was able to spend all the time I wanted. I spent about three hours on one of the days there and I was able to take it all in. As I walked to the eternal flame to pay my respects to both President and Mrs. Kennedy, I was in stiff competition with all of these student groups that were there as well. I stood back and waited for my turn as the large groups would move on down the line of Kennedy brothers that are buried nearby. As you get closer to the flame you can start to feel the magnitude of what could have been and the many “what ifs” that are buried at that site. I took my time, said a prayer and just kept thinking about my own potential and if I was doing enough, not just for my country but for my family as well. President Kennedy inspired me when I was a struggling 9 year old who had zero interest in learning how to read or had any thought that one day I would be holding a Master’s degree in history because of him. Now here I was standing by his grave site and I just wanted to breakdown.

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As you walk the pathway that connects the Kennedy brothers at Arlington, you will see that Bobby is buried not far away from his brother Jack. It was at Bobby’s grave site that I would really fall deep into this zone that is hard to describe. His grave site is marked by a single cross, a headstone and nothing more. There is a wall across from his grave site that includes the speech he delivered after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. There was another wall nearby that I was able to sit on and think, sometimes taking notes, but mostly I was there to reflect. I sat on this ledge for 2 hours, watching group after group head up to the eternal flame only to walk right past Bobby on their way to another of the cemetery’s monuments. Sometimes the groups would stop and pay respects to Bobby and others did not. Some of the guides would tell these students a quick story about who was buried there, but nothing of any substance that would tell them that someone special was buried there. I even heard a guide confuse stories of Teddy and Bobby, one of which said that Bobby was the one who was at Chappaquiddick in 1969. My fiancé had to keep me from opening my mouth to correct him and tried to tell me to let it go. That’s just not me. So when they got to Teddy’s grave which is just a few steps away from Bobby’s, I had to make the correction to the guide.

This got me thinking some more about what I could be doing. Yes, teaching has always been something that I have wanted to do, but would that be enough? Seeing group after group walk past Bobby, just made me think more about it. This was a man that could have had the most potential to change things we know today. Things that Bobby stood for, are still some of the same things we struggle with today. At least the tour guides taking these students could have mentioned the potential, the passion and the desire he had to make this a better world. I heard them at the eternal flame, I heard the long talks they gave these students for JFK, but it could have been said about RFK as well. We long for leaders that inspire us, make us want to be more than what we are. I truly believe that RFK saw the potential in people and that is what would have made him an unforgettable president had he lived and won. We just will never know like many things when it comes to the Kennedy’s as their potential was cut way too short in life.

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Assistant President RFK

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963 set forth in motion a chain of events in the history of the United States that would reshape it in the years that followed. For those who lived during this time, the events in Dallas changed the lives of many Americans, some too young to understand, and some old enough to realize the damage it had done to our country. The motives behind the assassination have been speculated by many, and the outcome of the research takes the culprits in the assassination to the forefront. One of the theories that has been mentioned was the involvement of Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. Having once been the powerful majority leader of the Senate, the now Vice-President would find his role diminished by the Kennedy administration. In this book review you are going to learn about a book that I had found at a local flea market a few years back. The book, “Robert F. Kennedy: Assistant President”, shows you the possible motivation that Johnson could have had in wanting to ascend to the presidency.

The book written by Gary Gordon in 1962, highlights the many life accomplishments of RFK as he made his way to the position of Attorney General. Within the first few pages the author describes the book as, “The dramatic life story of the second most powerful man in Washington”. Interesting to note about this book since it was written in 1962, was the fact that many polls taken by Newsweek, and U.S News, and other news outlets, put RFK ahead of Lyndon Johnson in terms of their power and influence over the country. The main theme of the book is to bring RFK into the national spotlight and in hopes of showing the American people that he was more than just the President of the United States brother. In many parts of the book, the author paints RFK as the man who not only got JFK elected through his hard work as campaign manager, but that he was not willing to take on a cabinet spot within the administration.

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The many chapters in the book show the reader that RFK may not have been qualified to become Attorney General, but he was able to use his position within the White House to change the role that Attorney Generals had. If those outside of the White House were seeing the way RFK was having influence over the decisions that his brother was making, then you know LBJ saw it as well. As the book starts off showing the Presidential campaign of 1960, it backtracks to highlight the life of RFK. Having no lawyer experience, he did not want the position of Attorney General at first. Trying to not show favoritism to his own family, JFK knew he wanted RFK by his side in those critical decision making times, and that he needed to be a cabinet member to achieve that. According to the author, JFK was quoted as saying, “I’ll take Bobby’s word over almost anybody’s”. The idea of having a family member within the cabinet had not been done before, and RFK was afraid of the political backlash that it would have in a future re-election campaign.

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Something of interest in the book was the trip around the world that RFK took in the early stages of 1962. The trip would be unprecedented by a United States Attorney General, and it had the feel of something more. The trip usually meant for Vice-Presidents, and one that LBJ took himself, was meant for RFK to get a feel of foreign affairs. The trip enabled RFK to see the issues at hand, and he would be able to have a better decision making process on these situations once back in Washington with his brother. It is hard to imagine the LBJ did not take great offense to this, and felt the lack of support from both Kennedy brothers. At the end of the book, the author makes a statement that is eerie to read as it has a statement that looks into the future. The author states, “In 1968, with JFK prevented by the Constitution from running again, the speculation is that Bobby could go before the voters with eight years of experience as an Assistant President”. Was this the motivation that was needed for LBJ, to end the Kennedy presidency? Did he himself want the presidency after JFK, and having read the many magazines and books proclaiming RFK as the second man in Washington, finally get to him? It is just one of the many theories that have been claimed over the years, and books such as these spark the mind into thinking. This book was an interesting find, and I recommend to always be on the lookout for books such as these, as they could hold the motives that others had in assassinating the President of the United States.

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Who do we blame for JFK’s Assassination?

For many people, the answer to who was involved in the killing of President John F. Kennedy stems from either years of research or is formed from an opinion based on everything they have heard from the media.  The answer is not simple and it is something that still has not been answered completely.  There are those that want to believe that Oswald acted alone in this and they have every right to that opinion.  Then, there are those that believe that one man could not have planned and executed this crime in front of hundreds of people.  I, for one, believe that Oswald could not have done this by himself and that others were behind this assassination.  I have been reading books about the assassination since I was a kid and it seems that I still find new and interesting things in each of these readings. For example, I recently came across a book that shows some motive as to why someone would want JFK killed.

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The book, which I found at a local flea market, is titled “Robert F. Kennedy: Assistant President”.  The title of the book says it all for me.  The authorclearly believes that RFK had more influence inside the government than the Vice President of the United States.  My own daughter (who is 12) noticed the title and asked me if Robert Kennedy was the Vice President and why they would title the book that way.  The book, which was published in 1962, shows how RFK fell into the position of Attorney General.  At the time, it received reviews from Look magazine and U.S News and World Report which described RFK as “the man  who is second only to the President in power and influence”.  Now, put yourself in the shoes of Lyndon Baines Johnson. This is a man that, at one time, was the most powerful man in the Senate, only to find himself a few years later, playing second fiddle to a young, inexperienced lawyer who happened to be the President’s brother.  How can he compete with that?  The answer to that question is simple.  He could not.  So, it would seem to me that publications like this would serve as a means of motive.

 

In most crimes, there has to be a motive involved for someone to commit a crime.  Whether it is to get back at someone or maybe even to get ahead in some faction.  I am not saying that Johnson was the man behind the Kennedy assassination nor am I denying his possible involvement in it.  I am simply showing those that are interested a possible means of motive.  Here we have a book, published in 1962, that refers to Robert Kennedy as the Assistant President.  The author goes into detail about decisions that he helps make on a daily basis and the trips around the world he takes during his first couple of years as Attorney General.  These feelings that Johnson harbored towards RFK would carry on even after the assassination and would last until RFK himself was assassinated in 1968.  Lyndon Johnson would go on to become President after the assassination of JFK, finally attaining the power that he so desperately wanted.  It could be possible that Lyndon Johnson saw books like this and became so angered by them that he felt he had to do something.  All I know is that questions still remain about the assassination.  Maybe finding little clues like this book could help those that feel they have the answer.

Sources:

Gordon, G. (1962). Robert F.Kennedy Assistant President. Derby, Connecticut: Monarch Books, Inc.

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