40 Years Later, RFK's Children Remember

Three Kennedy kids recall father's empathy, justice
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2008 9:29 AM CDT
Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated 40 years ago this week.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – To mark the anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, 40 years ago today, the New York Times offers vignettes from three of his children—Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend—of life with their father. For Kerry, RFK was the arbiter of fairness, whose teachings in the home mirrored his nationwide calling for "courage, love, and an abiding commitment to justice."

Joseph writes of his father's rare empathy, seeing at home the same intensity with which he later listened to coal miners, Native Americans, and the urban poor, as RFK held long "conversations" with his own father even after a stroke left him functionally mute. Kathleen remembers Bobby Kennedy as a social crusader who took his kids to Appalachia and Harlem and told them, as affluent Americans, "You have a great responsibility."