Shortly after midnight in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, after having delivered a victory speech celebrating the results of the Democratic primary in California in which he had defeated Eugene McCarthy, Robert Kennedy was shot three times, once in the head, by Sirhan Sirhan in a service area of the Ambassador Hotel. He was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent surgery; all night and throughout the next day and much of the next night his life hung in the balance; my wife and I remember staring numbly and futilely at the small black-and-white TV in our student apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts as the endless hours dragged by. Eventually a spokesman appeared and announced that Kennedy was dead. Barely two months earlier Martin Luther King, Jr. had been murdered in Memphis, and a short time after that Andy Warhol, of all people, had been shot and gravely wounded as well. And of course Robert Kennedy’s brother, JFK, had been assassinated in Dallas in 1963. In Vietnam the war showed not the least sign of abating. Anyone in my generation who wanted to believe that there was hope for an American future worth having would have a hard time finding the terms in which to express that hope after the events of 1968.
more from Michael Fried at nonsite.org here.