History, in Pieces

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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Robert F. Kennedy: March, 1968. Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of my favorite places to visit in the vast Smithsonian complex here in Washington is Julia Child's kitchen. I mean, what a cultural treasure! It's set up in the Museum of American History, and I can feast my eyes for ages on its multitude of gadgets and Julia-ness. Even though you don't get to touch anything, or walk through it, the power of the place permeates the glass, and you feel like any minute now Julia herself will pop around the corner with a fresh chicken and a fistful of herbs for tonight's dinner. That's why I have such sympathy for Patt Morrison. She's all fired up about the dismantling of the Ambassador Hotel, and specifically the pantry where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The hotel's been razed, and what of the pantry? I'll let Patt tell you...

So the pantry exists today not even as a kit to be eventually reassembled but in sample pieces — 2-foot-diameter cores of floor, walls and ceiling, along with doors, electrical panels and the biggest piece, the ice machine behind which Sirhan Sirhan stood, waiting to open fire. It's all on 30 pallets, shrink-wrapped and stored in a secure, undisclosed location, waiting for a special commission and the school board to decide what historical institution might deserve them.
Except for some recycled steel, the rest of the pantry, along with most of the Ambassador Hotel, went to a landfill.

So now this pantry can only ever again exist as fragments... And it'll be tough to conjure that feeling of place like Julia's kitchen does. What do you think? Will visiting pieces of the pantry be enough for you?

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Should Site of RFK's Assassination Be Preserved? <--- whaaat??!!!
~ ~ Don't ask stupid questions, PLEASE - - there's No Way "they" could preserve the site; where people could walk in and count the bullet holes and ask how there can be more holes than the capacity of Sirhan's revolver could hold BULLETS.
~ ~ You are doing RFK and our Nation a disservice by letting this truth slide from view. Go to sleep, Sheeple, the complicit Media is at work again. DisXXXXingGusting!!!!!

Sent by John Goeckermann | 2:49 PM | 6-5-2008

I understand RFK was an important man, but how much of an impact did he make? Lincoln was a president who freed the slaves. JFK was a president who helped bring USA into the space race. Gettysburg was a site so many Americans died. MLK was a significant factor in helping African Americans. What did RFK really do that made a big influence upon America? None that I'm aware of.

Sent by William Babcock | 3:55 PM | 6-5-2008