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Clinton Urges Americans To Celebrate RFK's Legacy

Clinton and the Kennedys
Clinton taped the radio tribute Friday at the Massachusetts home of RFK's son, U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III  

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 6) -- On the 30th anniversary of the death of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, President Bill Clinton called on Americans Saturday to celebrate his legacy of reaching out to others.

"We can do the memory of Robert Kennedy no greater honor than to dedicate ourselves, as he did, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world," the Democratic president said in his weekly radio address. "We still strive to answer his insistent challenge to do good and to do better."

Kennedy, the brother of the late President John F. Kennedy who represented New York in the Senate, died June 6, 1968, at age 42.

He had been shot in the head the day before, inside the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, just after giving a speech to jubilant supporters upon winning California's Democratic presidential primary.

Sirhan Sirhan, a young Palestinian immigrant, was wrestled to the ground at the scene and was later convicted of the slaying. Now 54, he is serving a life sentence at California's Corcoran State Prison.

'He touched their lives'

Clinton noted that Kennedy ran for president "to close the gaps between black and white, between rich and poor, between old and young."

"In a time of division, more than any American, he bridged those gaps, reaching out to starving families in the Mississippi Delta and to factory workers in Chicago, to migrant workers in Northern California and struggling teens in Harlem. He touched their lives. And just as important, they touched his."

"Thirty years ago today, I, like so many others around the world, felt pain, despair, a sense of deeply personal loss," Clinton said. But he went on to say that he did not think Kennedy would want Americans to dwell on that loss.

"In his all-too-short life, he lost much. But he never lost faith. In suffering, he struggled to find wisdom," Clinton said.

Clinton taped the radio tribute Friday at the Massachusetts home of RFK's son, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, where the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gathered with members of the Kennedy family -- including his widow, Ethel, and eight of his nine surviving children -- to observe the anniversary.

Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, near the grave of his brother John, who was assassinated in 1963.

In Other News

Saturday, June 6, 1998

Helms To Hold Hearings On Links Between China, Democrat Cash
Clinton Urges Americans To Celebrate RFK's Legacy

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