A 22-minute standing ovation, with tears. 1964.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 2, 2011
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Remembering what is best in an ever-awakening America: in honor of July 4th.

Broken yet more Awake; Tradition’s strength & Tragedy’s blessings.

‘When he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.’

Tribute to John F. Kennedy
Shakespeare poem ‘Romeo and Juliet’ cited by Robert F. Kennedy
Atlantic City, New Jersey
August 27, 1964

Watch the first 3:40 of the below video, the first part of a bio, American Experience, of Robert F. Kennedy—an American leader and icon who continually evolved and woke up as a human being throughout his career, and would have been our president, most assuredly, if he had not become the third Kennedy son to die violently, and be lost to us too soon.

Apparently the crowd roared for 22 minutes, in total, before allowing a stunned, broken RFK to speak.



This next video shows a moment before he took the stage. It’d be great to find a video that showed his introduction, and the swell of applause and emotion as he took the podium.

The next three videos show the pandemonium, and his famous, stunned, tragic, broken-hearted face and eyes. When he finally started and finished his speech, he exited, sat on a fire escape, and wept.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weShWAFrPbM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bcf4AqDl9L8&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz5HfmCSZi0&feature=related

Strangely, in the sadness and weight and tears, even in the complicated legacy that is the 60s and the Kennedy clan, I find solace and renewed hope in our political process. For out of all this pain came the Great Society, LBJ’s consumately skilled, successful push of what otherwise would likely have been JFK’s failed agenda that had stalled on the Hill. And Civil Rights, and the activist movement, and the feminist awakening: the 60s remind us that in breaking what is old and stagnant, we find renewed strength.

And now, ironically, we look back at the Kennedys and remember what is best of our own history in their handsome, beautiful, tanned, athletic, competitive confidence. For it is what and where we come from that brings us to this present moment. And yet it is in loss and brokenness that we may, if we so choose, become better, continually.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


2 Responses to “A 22-minute standing ovation, with tears. 1964.”

  1. randolphr says:

    viewed through tears …. the last fiqure of american profoundity

  2. Gary Mitchell says:

    He said so many times, in so many ways, so many important things, and really became, to paraphase Gandhi, "the change you want to see in the world." In the belly of the beast, on June 6, 1966, in Cape Town, South Africa, he spoke at the invitation of those battling racist apartheid, and gave us a message that still today helps sustain the fight for justice: "Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world's ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation…. It is from the numberless diverse acts of courag…e and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."