It Was Fifty Years Ago Today Series: Mallory’s Journal Entries for May
June 6, 1968
May 30 seems like years ago. If things were odd then, they’re even worse now. I think I left us in the floods, the strikes, the protests? Just as we thought it couldn’t get worse, this ugly, contorted, screaming mad world came up with another beautiful whack.
We had been thinking of supporting Gene McCarthy this election year. Clean Gene and all that. We really wanted to support Bobby Kennedy, but couldn’t quite get past the baggage-defending Joe McCarthy, all the political hay-making. I kept thinking “Damn. I’d like to drag him home for a drink and a conversation – Just level with me, Bobby. Who and what are you and what do you really believe because I sure as hell want to believe in you!”
So we called our friend Ray Peat in Eugene and talked to him about our dilemma. He is adamantly supporting Kennedy. “But why?” we asked. “Because,” Ray said, “he’s a populist and an opportunist and right now he’s the only one who can deliver this country from a right-wing takeover.”
So for the next three months, we became very involved in Kennedy’s presidential bid and we were disappointed when McCarthy won the Oregon primary.
Then on Tuesday, June 4, we watched as Kennedy won the California primary, watched as he stood at the podium and said, “And now let’s get on to Chicago and let’s win there!” We went to bed happy.
At 7:30 the next morning, my friend Mildred Mehr called to ask if we’d heard about Bobby Kennedy. “Sure,” I said. “He won!” “No,” she said, “I mean about him being shot.” She started crying.
I turned on the TV and there was Sander Vanocur where I’d left him five hours before, only now he looked exhausted and very, very sad.
They talked about it all day and we watched and hoped and finally gave up and went to bed around 1:30 a.m.
I woke up at seven and rushed to the TV just in time to see Pierre Salinger giving the press the details for the funeral. Bobby had died at 1:44.
June 13, 1968
Last Friday we watched all day as crowds of people filed past the coffin as it rested in state in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Some gently touched the wood, others just walked slowly past, heads bowed. Jackie Kennedy came in a stood for a while beside the coffin. Then she reached out slowly and rested her hand on the lid, shook her head, a quiet good-bye.
The funeral was Saturday. Edward Kennedy gave a eulogy. He ended it by saying, “My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. As he said many times in many parts of this nation to those he touched and who sought to touch him, ‘Some men see things as they are and say, why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?’’”
Later that day, a funeral train transported the coffin to Washington DC. People lined the tracks, some with their hand over their heart, some bowed and weeping. Some carried signs that read ”We love you, Bobby” and “God bless you RFK”. He was to have been our president…
June 16, 1968
I am completely disillusioned. What good is it to go on believing when anyone who stand for peace and justice and unity is always murdered? It’s never the Wallaces or the Maddoxes or the other hate-mongers who are silenced. Maybe hate keeps them alive. But those who believe in peace and hope, they are the ones who give their lives. It really is the twilight of the gods.
And in the larger world…
June 3, 1968
Valerie Solanas, angered that Andy Warhol had lost a script of hers, made an afternoon visit to Warhol’s Midtown Manhattan studio, known as The Factory, with a .32 revolver stashed in a brown paper bag. Warhol, accompanied by his boyfriend, Jed Johnson, and art critic Mario Amaya, saw Solanas outside The Factory and invited her in.
Once inside, Solanas pulled out the gun. The Village Voice’s Howard Smith described: “Warhol turned and saw the gun. ‘Valerie,’ he yelled. ‘Don’t do it! No! No!’ She fired three shots, and Warhol fell to the floor.”
Solanas then shot Amaya and aimed at Warhol’s manager, Fred Hughes, but her gun jammed and she fled. She later turned herself in to rookie traffic cop William Shemalix, handing him her gun and saying she had shot Andy Warhol “because he had too much control of my life.”
After the shooting, Warhol was taken to Columbus Hospital and was pronounced dead, but doctors resuscitated him and he survived after emergency surgery.
June 03, 2011 06:00 AM
June 6, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy was pronounced dead at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, more than 25 hours after he had been shot in the head, and almost seven hours after a team of six surgeons had completed emergency surgery to remove bullet fragments from his brain stem. Kennedy, who had suffered massive blood loss from his head wound, had suffered “irreparable brain damage” from a .22-caliber bullet, and never regained consciousness.  Reverend Thomas Pecha administered the last rites . Kennedy was removed from mechanical life support by consent of his family after his doctors had informed them that brain activity had ceased.  Fifteen minutes after Kennedy’s death, his press secretary, Frank Mankiewicz, appeared before reporters and told them, “I have a short announcement to read… Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died at 1:44 A.M. today, June 6, 1968. With Senator Kennedy at the time of his death was his wife Ethel, his sisters, Mrs. Patricia Lawford, and Mrs. Stephen Smith, his brother-in-law, Stephen Smith, and his sister-in-law, Mrs. John F. Kennedy. He was 42 years old.” 
June 8, 1968
At 11:15 in the morning local time, James Earl Ray was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London for the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Ray was spotted while preparing to board an airplane to fly to Brussels. Scotland Yard officials said that he had been carrying a loaded pistol and two false Canadian passportsbearing the name of Ramon Sneyd, after receiving a tip from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police watchlist. During his 65 days on the run, Ray drove from Memphis, Tennessee to Birmingham, Alabama and then to Atlanta. He abandoned his car, rode a bus from Atlanta to Detroit, rode in a taxicab to Windsor, Ontario and got a train to Toronto on April 6. After a month in Toronto, where he got a passport in the name of Sneyd, he flew to London on May 6, then flew to Lisbon where he tried to get a visa to take a ship to Africa. Deciding that he would have a better chance in Belgium, he planned to go to Brussels after changing planes at London.
June 13, 1968
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Frank A. Barker, 40, was killed in a helicopter crash in South Vietnam. Three months earlier, Barker had ordered a U.S. Army task force to clear the area around My Lai, where the My Lai Massacre of 347 civilians at Song My village had taken place on March 16. “Whether or not Barker directly ordered the deliberate killing of noncombatants,” a historian would write later, a U.S. Army Captain under his command would testify before a board of inquiry “that Barker had instructed him to destroy the hamlet known as My Lai”. The board would conclude that Barker “was culpable of at least 11 violations of army regulations, some of which were considered war crimes”.
Frank Akeley Barker (born January 26, 1928 in New Haven Connecticut; died in a helicopter crash on June 13, 1968 in Quảng Ngãi, South Vietnam) was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. He was the commanding officer of the officially designated “Task Force Barker,” one unit of which (Charlie Company) was responsible for the 1968 My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Frank Barker was never tried for his role in the massacre due to his death before the My Lai Massacre trials.
June 14, 1968
At 2148 UTC, the asteroid Icarus made its closest approach to Earth since 1949, but had already astronomers debunked rumors (that had abounded for the past three years) that the half-mile wide object would collide with the planet.  Earlier, Dr. Brian G. Marsden of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory told reporters that the “miss distance” was estimated to be roughly 3,951,000 miles (6,359,000 km), give or take “a few hundred miles”, a distance that made Icarus 16 times further away than the Moon, and that Icarus would still be “600 times fainter than the naked eye can see”.  The approach of Icarus had inspired the first group study of what is now called “asteroid impact avoidance“, in an undergraduate class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Advanced Space Systems Engineering”, in the spring 1967 semester. Students were asked to assume that Icarus would actually strike the Earth within 70 weeks and assigned to study whether it could be deflected. Their conclusion was that the only solution was for 100-megaton thermonuclear weapons to be detonated on the surface at various times, with the first 73 days before impact (April 16, 1968) and the last chance only five days before impact, with the goal of either fragmenting or deflecting Icarus. An author would write in 2016, “most of what they concluded would still be valid today”
June 19, 1968
After two postponements, the Poor People’s March on Washington took place in the nation’s capital as a multiracial crowd of impoverished Americans gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., was the keynote speaker at the rally.  The National Park Servicehad granted a seven day extension of the original permit because of the postponements of the event, but the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was advised that it would have until 8:00 of the evening of June 23 to tear down the temporary housing called “Resurrection City” and to vacate the 15-acre area in West Potomac Park
June 27, 1968
Citing “an increase in the enemy’s threat due to both a greater flow of replacements and a change in tactics,” the U.S. Command in South Vietnam announced that it would pull its troops out of that nation’s northernmost province, Quang Trị and closing the Khe Sanh Combat Base.  The United States Marines had sustained over 2,500 casualties during a 77-day siege of Khe Sanh by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army attackers. The South Vietnamese Army, with the financial support of the United States, would take over the responsibility of defending Quang Tri, which would become the first province to be conquered during the invasion of 1975. North Vietnam would cite the date of the announcement as a milestone in its history, noting that “On July 15, 1968, our soldiers were in complete control of Khe Sanh.”
Prague Spring, brief period of liberalization in Czechoslovakia under Alexander Dubček in 1968. Soon after he became first secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party on January 5, 1968, Dubček granted the press greater freedom of expression; he also rehabilitated victims of political purges during the Joseph Stalin era. By June many Czechs were calling for more rapid progress toward real democracy.
On June 27, 1968. Ludvik Vaculik releases his manifesto “Two Thousand Words”. This essay, criticizing Communist rule in Czechoslovakia and concluding with an overt threat to “foreign forces” trying to control the government of the country was seen as a direct challenge by the Soviet Administration who extended ongoing military exercises in the country, and began planning for their invasion later in the summer. The invasion took place in August, 1968.