he touched began to believe in themselves. He urged us to dream things that never were and say why not. And so for me, and many of my brothers and sisters, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge not only spans Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, but it is the bridge through 1968 to 2008 and from 2008 to generations to come.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said the bridge is symbolic of how his father attempted to bridge the gaps between income, race and justice in 1968. Construction on the bridge finished in 1936. It is actually three bridges, a viaduct, and 14 miles of approach roads connecting Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. Others spoke of how Kennedy, who would have been 83-years-old Thursday, paved a way for President-elect Barack Obama.
“I think the two men share the same values. They share the sense of the U.S. as a community and that the U.S., as a mission in history, is supposed to be an exemplary nation,” said Robert Kennedy Jr., as he climbed into the lead car in a motorcade of 30 vintage cars, the first to pass over the RFK Bridge after the renaming.
Earl G. Graves Sr., chairman and publisher of Black Enterprise, recalled how when he was a young community organizer in Bedford Stuyvesant Kennedy inspired him to broaden his impact in the same way that Obama, has inspired younger generations during the 2008 general election.
“As a person that worked for Robert Kennedy, it is very poignant. It is exciting seeing all of the family gathering again as we recognize the warm spirit of Robert Kennedy,” he said. Graves worked as an administrative assistant to the late senator from 1965 to 1968. “This comes at a time when the country is much in need of moving in the right direction, and I think we are because of the recent election.”
Renita Burns contributed to this article.