Today marks the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis Kennedy.
To those of my generation who loved Bobby – and still love him – it will always be the wound that time never healed.
I remember sitting with my mother, the late Susie Leone Rich, and watching in stunned disbelief as a news bulletin announced the shooting. We were unable to speak or sleep that night, yet through silent tears my Mom, sensing instinctively what I was thinking and feeling but unable to express, quietly gathered pen and paper and put to words a poem dedicated to all those who fall in the cause of freedom and justice.
His Dream Lives On
by Susie Leone Rich
A tower of strength was he – so tall!
Yet not too great to touch the small;
He ran with zest his earthly race.
With helping hand and fearless grace.
And on his way —
He paused, to wipe the weary brow
Of all who toiled with pen — or plow
For him, no color barrier stood;
It never should; it never could
Stand in his way.
The path he trod was rough but right
And freedom’s cause could make it light;
Relentlessly, he journeyed on
Through darkest night to reach the dawn
Of a new day.
“Come, follow me,” he turned to say;
“I’ll hold your hand if you should stray
From paths of duty — honor — right.
The goal we seek is just in sight
If we but pray.”
The torch he passed to us we claim
With pride and courage in his name;
The crown he won with sweat and tears
Will lead us on through all the years —
To peace through love.
Dear one, who sleeps in hallowed ground
We cannot — must not — let you down;
For you who friend and foe acclaim
The flame eternal will not wane
But guide us on.
Your dream must see reality,
The land you loved not shackled be
By chains of prejudice and hate —
But be reborn before too late —