June 6, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Senator Robert Francis Kennedy. Kennedy was shot shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel. Moments earlier, he had stood at a podium after winning the California presidential primary.
Robert Kennedy's death shocked and saddened many Americans, and it caused some to question the direction of the country during a particularly tumultuous year, which included the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the escalation of the Vietnam War. Wrote Pete Chronis in a June 7, 1963, Rocky Mountain News op-ed piece:
Wednesday, after hearing of the assassination attempt...there came a familiar dread and disbelief that I had felt during the four days in November 1963....unlike in 1963, I found myself wondering if I really were living in the United States or in some anarchic republic.
Kennedy's last visit to the Rocky Mountain region was in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on April 26, 1968, while on a presidential campaign tour, where he said "My goal is not to govern America but to liberate America...."
A month before, Kennedy had stopped in Denver to speak at the Auditorium Arena. More than 35,000 people lined the Denver streets to see him.
Rocky Mountain News writer Don Lyle perhaps best summed up Robert Kennedy's relationship to Colorado in a June 8, 1968, article:
Robert F. Kennedy didn't spend much time in Colorado and Wyoming—usually a short week around Christmas enjoying the skiing at Aspen or a short speaking tour through the larger cities. His visits here were memorable ones for all who met him and came under the spell of his enthusiasm, whether it was on the ski slopes, seated in an audience or experiencing the firm, quick handshake.