It's been 35 years since your tragic death and our nation is still facing the challenges you spoke of nearly forty years ago. I'm only 19 and I wonder sometimes if things will ever change. I wonder if we can survive this time of crisis and sadness. I wonder if my generation really can make a difference. Sometimes I even wonder if we should try... but then I think of you.
I remember how you reached out to those less fortunate, with no regard to race. I remember how you fought for those who couldn't fight for themselves, and never gave up. I remember how you gave a voice to the voiceless, even though you knew maybe people disagreed. I remember how deeply you allowed yourself to feel others pain, especially children. But most of all, I remember how you taught young people that one voice did matter, that their voice was unique and that together we really could change the world.
Bobby, since September 11th, it has been hard to follow your vision for America. There is so much fear, loss of hope and violence. I asked myself this morning what you would say to those people who felt disillusioned in America, what you'd say to our soldiers fighting in Iraq and what you'd say to those people whose homeland we're fighting in. I realized suddenly, that the answer might well be the same for all... simply that we should "Make gentle the life of this world".
So Bobby, from this young person and from Americans everywhere, thank you. I for one will always believe that together, we can change the world. I believe too that we must love our neighbors even when we'd rather hate them, that we must stand up for ideals even when we have no courage left and that most of all we must not fail in our belief that America at heart is still good and decent.
35 years since your death you are still inspiring young people.....and reminding us that youth is not "a time of life, but a temper of will". So here's to your vision and here's to healing our wounds... I hope we make you proud...
From a grateful American
Copyright © 2003 Stephanie Warren