On This Day, June 5, 1968 – Robert Kennedy Mortally Wounded in Los Angeles

1968 – Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot several times by the 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. Kennedy died a day later.

The summer of 1968 was a tempestuous time in American history and Kennedy was perceived by many to be the only person in American politics capable of uniting the people, being beloved by the minority community for his integrity and devotion to the civil rights cause. After winning California’s primary, Kennedy was in the position to receive the Democratic nomination and face off against Richard Nixon in the general election.

As star athletes Rafer Johnson and Roosevelt Grier accompanied Kennedy out a rear exit of the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan Sirhan stepped forward with a rolled up campaign poster, hiding his .22 revolver and was only a foot away when he fired. Grier and Johnson wrestled Sirhan to the ground, but not before five bystanders were wounded.

Sirhan, who was born in Palestine, confessed to the crime at his trial and received a death sentence on March 3, 1969. However, since the California State Supreme Court invalidated all death penalty sentences in 1972, Sirhan has spent the rest of his life in prison. According to The New York Times, he said that he believed Kennedy was “instrumental” in the oppression of Palestinians.

1752 – Benjamin Franklin flew a kite to demonstrate that lightning was a form of electricity.

1794 – The U.S. Congress prohibited citizens from serving in any foreign armed forces.

1851 – Harriet Beecher Stowe published the first installment of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in “The National Era.”

1865 – The first safe deposit vault was opened in New York. The charge was $1.50 a year for every $1,000 that was stored.

1884 – U.S. Civil War General William T. Sherman refused the Republican presidential nomination, saying, “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

1917 – American men began registering for the World War I draft.

1924 – Ernst F. W. Alexanderson transmitted the first facsimile message across the Atlantic Ocean.

1927 – Johnny Weissmuller set two world records in swimming events. Weissmuller set marks in the 100-yard, and 200-yard, free-style swimming competition.

1933 – President Roosevelt signed the bill that took the U.S. off of the gold standard.

1944 – The first B-29 bombing raid hit the Japanese rail line in Bangkok, Thailand.

1946 – The first medical sponges were first offered for sale in Detroit, MI.

1947 – U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave a speech at Harvard University in which he outlined the Marshall Plan.

1956 – Premier Nikita Khrushchev denounced Josef Stalin to the Soviet Communist Party Congress.

1967 – The Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan began.

1973 – The first hole-in-one in the British Amateur golf championship was made by Jim Crowford.

1975 – Egypt reopened the Suez Canal to international shipping, eight years after it was closed because of the 1967 war with Israel.

1981 – In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that five men in Los Angeles were suffering from a rare pneumonia found in patients with weakened immune systems. They were the first recognized cases of what came to be known as AIDS.

1998 – A strike began at a General Motors Corp. parts factory near Detroit, MI, that closed five assembly plants and idled workers across the U.S. for seven weeks.

1998 – Volkswagen AG won approval to buy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars for $700 million, outbidding BMW’s $554 million offer.

2004 – The U.S.S. Jimmy Carter was christened in the U.S. Navy in Groton, CT.


Source: History.com;On-This-Day.com