Richard & John Curia – The train that just missed Eileen killed two others in Elizabeth, including the father of Richard and John Curia, who was on the tracks with a female friend. “He attempted to push her out of the way, and unfortunately was unsuccessful and both were struck,” says John. The woman held a grandchild in her arms, but was able to fling the child to safety before being hit.
Vanessa Chambers, Delvia “Pinky” Fowler, Sedrick Robinson – These three friends remember playing as kids at the North Philadelphia station where RFK’s train would pass. These memories brought back no hope,” recalls Sedrick. “If we walked one or two blocks either way you were either going to be beaten, stabbed or killed.” Pinky IDs a former boyfriend in Fusco’s photo as her boyfriend at the time. “Toody was killed in a car,” she says. “When I saw the picture of Toody, the first thing that came to my mind was, this picture is the only picture with both of us in it.”
Paul Kettler – Kettler was attending his fifth Princeton reunion when the RFK train passed. “On everyone’s mind was, ‘why is there this craziness?’” he says. “This a pivotal turn in American history where we won’t have presidents who can go out and touch the people any more … And if that’s what’s becoming of the nation, what does that say?”
Michael & McKinley Scott – A civil-rights activist, Michael Scott was the target of racism four weeks after RFK’s death, when a bomb exploded in his driveway. Recalling the day he watched the funeral train, Scott says, “Martin Luther King had been assassinated just two months prior to that. They took Moses away from us when he was killed. Bobby was David, who was going to fight Goliath – Goliath being bigotry and racism and those standing in the way of equal rights.”
Sister Eve Kavanagh – A South African working in the States, Eve went to the tracks with some other nuns. “Many of us were saddened, including me, because I was in the process of becoming a citizen and I wanted to vote,” she says. “I would have voted for him.”
Jayne Hayden – A 16-year-old in 1968, Hayden had good reason to admire RFK; she lost her brother in Vietnam a year earlier, and felt compelled to honor a man who sought to end the war.
Though Kennedy’s assassination occurred more years ago (43) than the Senator’s age when he died (42), the sense of loss remains for those who knew him or were inspired by him. “I miss him very much,” says Mankiewicz. “We miss him on every issue. We miss that clarity of vision. We miss the irony and the contentiousness – the sense that there were battles to be won, and sides to be taken.”
CREDITS: Funeral Train Photographer: Paul Fusco; Produced by Jennifer Stoddart; Film Editors: Fiona MacDonald and Matt Briggs; Director of Photography: Sam Montague. Executive Producer for Impact Partners: Dan Cogan; Executive Producer for Scottish Screen: Robbie Allen. For HBO: Senior Producer: Nancy Abraham; Consulting Editor for HBO: Geof Bartz A.C.E.; Executive Producer for HBO: Sheila Nevins.