In 1969, on this day a rousing rendition of "If I Can Dream" sung by Elvis Presley closed out the first inauguration of Robert F. Kennedy as the 37th President of the United States.
Click to listen to the 1968 Comeback Special.
A Sky More Blue Peace and understanding comes to AmericaIt was an appropriately chosen song for two main reasons. Firstly, the expression of the widely held sentiment that American had become materially richer, but spiritually poorer during the sixties. And secondly, the hope that Americans could "become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again".
In a sense a flaming torch had been passed this time around because the noble causes of his elder brother's 1960 election had deteriorated into intractable moral dilemmas for the more complex world of the 1970s. And the prospects of say delivering true social justice for African-Americans or beating the Viet Cong were looking extremely bleak, despite the optimism of the campaign trail where deliriously excited blacks, Hispanics and white students had grasped at him so hard that his hands bled.
And yet there was good cause for hope that the haters might not win out. Not only had Kennedy narrowly survived an assassination attempt in the Ambassasor Hotel, Los Angeles. But also because alongside the new Secretary of State Eugene McCarthy he had managed to navigate the perils of the Chicago Convention. And sieze the nomination despite the very best of efforts of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the President who loathed him.