While the author was away for a week’s vacation in Montreal and Quebec City, three key events, which transformed America, were commemorated.
Historically, the first event was D Day, the invasion of Normandy, France by the United States, Great Britain and the Free French, on June 6, 1944. This was the beginning of the final push against Nazi Germany, opening up a second front in the war against Adolf Hitler. Thouands of Americans and other allied troops died on that day and in the days that followed on a great mission, and this is what makes the World War II generation called by many the “greatest generation”!
So on the 67th anniversary of that pathbreaking event, one needed to stop and think how rapidly we are losing that generation, with the minimum age of those engaged in that great battle now being 85! We can never do enough to salute the bravery and courage of those who perished, as well as those who survived that crucial moment in World War II, allowing us to be the society we are today!
Secondly, on June 5, 1967, 44 years ago, the Six Day War of Israel versus Egypt, Jordan and Syria, began after information came to the Israelis of an imminent attack, and their decision to commence a war of pre-emption. The war lasted just six days, and led to Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the Sinai Desert, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.
Out of this war came the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the rise of Yasser Arafat, and two generations of terrorism, which have affected the security and safety of Israel, the United States, and all western nations. And attempts to negotiate peace on the occupied territories has led to return of some land to Egypt and the Palestinians, recognition by Egypt and Jordan, but failure to recognize Israel by other Arab nations, and attempts by the US to promote a comprehensive peace, meeting with utter failure and constant tensions in the area.
But to expect Israel to return more territory without guarantees of security, safety, and recognition of their right to exist, is to dream the impossible.
Finally, exactly a year after the beginning of the war in the Middle East, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, brother of the slain President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles immediately after winning the California Presidential primary. Considered the front runner for the Democratic nomination for President, RFK was murdered by a Palestinian Arab named Sirhan Sirhan, who worked in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, and was angry over RFK’s open support of the Israelis in the Six Day War a year earlier.
So RFK became the first victim of Palestinian terrorism, something not recognized for a long time. And America lost its possible future President, and one has to wonder how he would have performed as President of the United States.
Many have seen RFK as a transformative figure, who would have changed the course of American history in a major way. We will never know how his impact would have affected us, but we are well aware that we had an opportunity for a major change to the left, and instead descended into Republican conservatism which has put America in a precarious state in the past 40 years, and has caused the Great Recession that we are still reeling from in 2011!