Ceremony to mark 50 years since Robert Kennedy assassination

Ireland’s Ambassador to US among those to speak at Arlington Cemetery

 

Fifty years after his death, friends and family of the late Robert Kennedy will gather on Wednesday in Arlington Cemetery to mark his life and legacy.

Senator Robert Kennedy, the younger brother of President John F Kennedy, was assassinated in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the evening of June 5th, 1968, dying the following morning.

His death – almost five years after the assassination of his brother John – shocked the nation, then in the grip of social unrest as the war in Vietnam trundled on with mounting death tolls.

At a memorial event in Arlington Cemetery just outside Washington DC, friends and family of Robert Kennedy – including his 90-year-old widow Ethel – will attend a ceremony.

President Bill Clinton is scheduled to give a keynote address, while Ireland’s ambassador to the United States Dan Mulhall will also deliver remarks.

Untimely death

Bobby Kennedy was buried in Arlington Cemetery on June 8th, 1968, beside his brother John, who had been interred there after his untimely death in 1963.

Following a funeral Mass for the 42-year-old senator in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, his remains were transported on a train from New York to Washington DC. Thousands of people gathered along the route of the train, which wound its way through New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, to pay tribute to a man who had dedicated his politics – particularly during the end of his life – to social and racial equality.

Robert Kennedy had announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination three months before his death, following months of speculation. He had just won the California Democratic primary when he was gunned down on his way out of the Ambassador Hotel through the kitchen.

Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of his murder and is serving a life sentence in a Californian prison.