To the Editor:
An ex-busboy will never forget Bobby Kennedy in ways many of us understand. Reading about Juan Romero’s August 29, 2015 memories of an internal cross of guilt that he carried for decades awoke many of my own painful memories, and yet the path of hope was expanded despite the loss of a great leader who died June 5, 1968.
I was alone that night watching TV while my 4-month old son was sleeping and his father was working. Our country was still reeling from two assassinations – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., just two months previous, and President John F Kennedy almost five years previous.
It was late and watching the event’s aftermath caused me to pace the floor as tears streamed down my face. I could not handle such a public act of hate and called home, waking up my mother. They were in bed unaware of the tragedy. I saw a glimpse of a young boy holding RFK’s head in his lap and turned off the TV. I did not sleep that night. I kept asking the same question over and over – why?
I lived in California and had been to the Ambassador Hotel. This was in my backyard. Today the hotel is gone. A K-12 school campus has replaced it. There is an RFK memorial that displays these words. “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, it sends out a tiny ripple of hope.”
We thought we lost hope that day. Instead we gained an understanding that whoever sees wrong can try to make it right; whoever sees suffering can try to heal it, and whoever sees wars can try to stop them.
Juan Romero’s end of grief has served as a great reminder that there will always be a tiny ripple of hope when good and kind people try to help a person in need just as Juan Romero did while ignoring the sound of gun shots. RFK’s last words were “Everything’s going to be OK.”
For Juan Romero that took 47 years to realize it was true.