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Orange and Blue: 1968

Orange and Blue: 1968

June 8, 1968. "Funeral cortege of Robert F. Kennedy." More of the mourners who lined the route of RFK's funeral train as it made its way from New York to Washington. The mood may have been blue, but the Popsicles were not. Photos by Paul Fusco and Thomas Koeniges for Look magazine. View full size.

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Minimal Restraint

Note that the Police Line consists of a mere length of twine.

Practice for the future

Cellphones haven't been invented yet, so we'll just hold up these popsicles.

It is a Saturday

Judging from the clothing of the young people in the crowd, I thought they were all possibly office workers, stenos, etc. but after looking at the day of the week site, it said it was a Saturday and certainly not what most people today schlep around in on a weekend.


I was just finishing up at CUA then, Almost too much going on to fully appreciate. Strange times.

Different Crowd

Different time of day? Different zip code? The last crowd looked like they had all spontaneously dropped their household chores, hair curlers and all. They were standing in tall grass, most of them wearing shorts, and I almost start scratching my ankles thinking of the chigger bites.

But here, they're dressed to the nines, at least the five very fashionable women in the front row. I love that dress with the Morse code patterns, or is it more like an oilfield geologist's sounding chart? I've known a few women who would kill to find that in a vintage shop.

Who knows which state, just somewhere along the Penn Central line, as this is after the merger, but before Amtrak.


I find this photo kind of surreal. Popsicles and a funeral train. Two things that I would have never put together.

[Don't knock it till you've tried it. - Dave]


You could just about take a laser sight (time machine needed, of course,) and etch a straight line with those hems on the three skirts to the left.

Re: Greenland

In '68 I was a SAC crew dog flying 'Thule Monitor' (AKA 'BUTTERKNIFE') missions, where we'd take a B-52 up to Thule and orbit the place for twelve hours, (ostensibly) watching just in case the Soviets vaporized it. We killed time (and probably drove Soviet radio monitors nuts) by playing 'Trivia' over the UHF with Thule ground control. Any chance that was you?

A HOT June Day!

According to records kept by the high temperature on that date in NYC was 88, and 80 in Washington, D.C. - so assuming this photo was taken somewhere between those two points, it was a pretty hot day all around - which would explain the ice pops - bottled water was not around back then.

[It was, but the bottles were glass. - Dave]

Heard it from Greenland

I was stationed at Thule Airbase in 1968 and worked in the comm center. A friend of mine worked in Tech Control and had access to all the Armed Forces Network news feeds. Since I was a political junkie, on every primary night he'd patch me into the live not-for-broadcast feed so I could keep up with the latest election news. I was listening to the feed from the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after Kennedy had been declared the winner of the California primary and heard the pandemonium after the shooting. The previous April, I was working at Eugene McCarthy headquarters in D.C. while home on leave the previous April when MLK was killed. It's hard to describe the feelings of those days. It felt like everything was falling apart.

Gold pinky rings

I don't remember that as a fashion statement in the late 1960s or early 1970s, but two of the women in front (maybe all five, but I think the two AA women have wedding bands on their index finger, and it's hard to tell with the blond on the left) have pinky rings.

Why the popsicles?

Did an ice cream truck running a special on orange Popsicles pass by just prior to this photo was taken? Just seems weird that several of the people in the picture seem to be eating them; I mean the same flavor and everything.

This also reminds me of how things have changed; all of the visible females are wearing skirts/dresses even in the free for all late '60's when things began to relax fashion-wise. I remember wearing either a dress or a skirt every day to school around that time. By the early 70's though, jeans were the norm.


I was ten years old when this happened. I remember "Bewitched" was preempted for coverage of the funeral, which was on all the networks. The thing went on forever. The poor newscasters ran out of things to say, so resorted to saying, time and again, "Yes, the coffin will be passed through the removed windows of the train car," which I though was incredibly spooky. At some point, one of the guys said, "So tragic...two brothers...from the same family."

This reminds me

of a European on his first visit to the U.S. who noticed that Americans are always eating in the street, others Europeans have mentioned this also, seems funerals are no exception.

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