I was in the sixth grade when John Kennedy was killed. Within a few years we saw Bobby Kennedy killed, and of course, Martin Luther King killed as well. It was like an epidemic of assassinations of high profile people. The country reeled from the loss of important leaders, the rise in violence, and the realization that hatred ran deep in this place we thought was so strong, and so perfect. It was a time of great turmoil and the questioning of our fiber as a nation. Remember the song about it? "Has anybody here seen my good friend Martin? Can you tell me where he's gone? He freed a lot of people but the good they die young? I just looked around and he was gone." Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and John Kennedy, and Bobby too. All gone.
It's even more remarkable when I think back on it. At the time it seemed like normal life to me, the riots and the marches and the assassinations, because it's all I knew as a young person coming of age during the turbulent 1960's. But now I think it's rather amazing we survived it. I guess we are stronger than even we realize sometimes.
Losing Martin Luther King was a blow but it was a wake-up call for the nation-a piece of the puzzle we needed to solve. We're still working it all out, but we are making progress, plodding along in the right direction, but longing to hurry a little.