I was leaving work last night when I struck up a conversation with one of my co-workers about the anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the 72nd anniversary of which was of course yesterday. That led to a discussion about another event that took place on a June 6: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. All told it was a terrible year in American history, with the Tet Offensive, MLK assassination, riots, violence at the Democratic Convention in Chicago and so many other things I am leaving out as a type this. As my friend’s and my conversation continued I remembered that there is a bust of RFK in Cadman Plaza and that I had showed it to students during one of our walk-throughs this past semester. In the spring it was behind some construction fencing, but as you can see from these images I took after work last night, that fencing has been removed.
There are a great many memorials within Cadman Plaza. Three of our students wrote about different ones in their final papers, and even with that there were still a good 4-5 we left out. Unfortunately some of the memorials are now gone; trees with memorial plaques dedicated to Brooklyn men who had served in the Great War have been torn up to make way for the renovation of Columbus Park and Cadman Plaza that has been taking incrementally over the past year or so.
Though she did not address the audience Ethel Kennedy, Boby Kennedy’s widow, was on hand during the unveiling of the bronze bust when it was dedicated on November 2, 1972. Coincidentally or not the dedication came five days prior to the presidential election in which Nixon defeated McGovern. I was curious to see if anyone would be making note of the statue but in the five minutes or so I was there no one did. It will be interesting to see if two years from now they do something in the Plaza to mark the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination.