‘Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great’

Published January 13, 2015

When the world is in turmoil I read this to try and give some hope. Surely we could have managed this by now, as these words were spoken nearly 50 years ago.

Robert F. Kennedy made a speech at the Cleveland City Club on April 5th, 1968. He speaks in the shadow of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, just the day before.

The John F. Kennedy library keeps a record of the full speech which I’d recommend reading, but this part is by far the most apt:

But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.