It was April 4, 1968 and Robert F. Kennedy was en route to speak to a group in the heart of the African-American ghetto in Indianapolis. He learned in the car that Martin Luther King, Jr. had been shot and killed.
Local police advised against speaking. "We can't provide protection for you. People might riot," they warned.
Instead of retreating in fear, RFK spoke off the top of his head --- and from the heart -- to unify people with a message of love. Just a few months later he would be assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian. But in the iconic moments of his speech on April 4, Kennedy spoke to the truth, even though it was difficult to say.
I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.
In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black--considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible--you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization--black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.
Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: "In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.
So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we've had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
Glenn reacted Tuesday on radio after playing Kennedy's speech:
"That's who we need to be. We need to tell the truth. What happened yesterday in Manchester will not stop until we all come to the truth, that it is about the Islamist. It is. Period. And we cannot live side by side with it. It has no reason. It has no compassion. It has no love.
"I'm sorry. I've tried to ban the word "evil" from my lexicon when talking about different ideologies and different things, but that is. When you are killing children, when you are raping children, when you are enslaving children, when you're enslaving adults, when it's my way or the highway, it is my way or death because God tells me I have a right to kill you, there is no other word than "evil." And that's just the way it is.
"Until we say there is a large group of people that are following Islam, the way it was in the Dark Ages, that have not had any kind of reformation and they want to take us back to the Dark Ages, well, I'm not going. And it's time that the West stands up and says you are either going to be a part of the future, which is bright, or you're not. But I am not going back to the caves and to the campfires and to the terror and slaughter that you want to bring us back to. I'm not going there."
Listen to this segement from The Glenn Beck Program: