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Today is an important day in terms of American history.

It is the 74th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces that led directly to victory in World War II.

If you’ve never been to Normandy in northern France, I heartily recommend it … especially to young people for whom the whole notion of a world war is somehow alien. It is an extraordinary experience, deeply moving and profoundly affecting in terms of how it makes one face the reality of the challenge and the effort.

And, today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy, in the early morning hours after he’d won the California Democratic presidential primary. I’m too young to remember D-Day, but I remember the morning we woke up to news of Kennedy’s death.

It is worth remembering, I think, swords he uttered two months before his death, when Kennedy ventured into a black neighborhood in Indianapolis and told an assembled crowd about the death that night of Martin Luther King, Jr. In calming the crowd, Kennedy said, in part:

"In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black — considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible — you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization — black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

"Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.”

And, he added:

"What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.”
KC's View: