03 December 2011
1968 A Year of Assassinations-52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History
Week 49. Historical Events. Describe a memorable national historical event from your childhood. How old were you and how did you process this event? How did it affect your family?
My ten year old self remembers being frightened by the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on 4 April 1968 and a few weeks later of Robert Kennedy of 6 June 1968. I think this is the first memory of world events that I have.
I was visiting a friend when the TV network broke in to tell of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. I said I had to go and ran across the street to my home. I don't know why I felt that way, I just did. I wasn't one to watch the news at that time and didn't really understand the implications of his death. I just knew it was something big.
A few weeks later, I woke up one morning and wandered into my parent's bedroom. They were listening to the radio. They were talking about someone named Sirhan Sirhan. I remember asking my parents what they were listening too. They said that Robert F. Kennedy had been shot. I don't think I knew who he was, but again I felt it must be big news.
I think having my parents talk about what happened helped me to process the event at the time. They did it without alarming me.
Although, neither of these events affected my family, or me personally, it helped me to understand that there were bad people in this world. Later, when I studied the importance of these two events as they related to race relations, I remembered the news stories. This was the beginning of my interest in current events.