Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

May 6, 2013

Re-enactment of RFK speech brings history to life

Greensburg — National and local history came to life Friday afternoon around the Decatur County Courthouse, as Greensburg Community High School (GCHS) students gathered on the south lawn, awaiting the arrival of “Robert F. Kennedy.”

In 1968, Kennedy stopped in Greensburg as part of short-lived presidential campaign. On a gorgeous, sunny Friday afternoon, May 3, 2013, at 12:55 p.m. — 45 years to the minute — student re-enactor Riley Burkert rode around the courthouse square in the same convertible that carried the RFK himself into town all those years gone.

Accompanying Berkert around the Courthouse square was Stephen Shaffer, a 1974 GCHS graduate and a lifelong public servant of both the US House of Representatives and the US Department of the Interior. Shaffer was in attendance at Kennedy’s 1968 Greensburg appearance and, following Berkert’s re-enactment of Kennedy’s 1968 speech. rounded out the afternoon with a keynote address.

GCHS History Teacher John Pratt, who coordinated the event alongside students of his Junior History courses, admitted that the text of Berkert’s speech wasn’t exact, but rather, as close as possible based on documents from the JFK Presidential Library and accounts of the day from the Greensburg Daily News.

Pratt also revealed that the re-enacted speech’s student audience displayed signs that were identical to ones used by students on that day 45 years ago.

Berkert’s address was like a reminder of the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” The politician’s 1968 speech, as re-enacted by Berkert, was riddled with anxiety over the plight of America’s working and middle classes, with condemnation of the Vietnam War and with America’s allegedly deteriorating status as a leader in world economics and military defense. The speech, displaying perhaps Kennedy’s awareness of his audience, also made several references to the plight of America’s farming community.

Afterward, Shaffer credited RFK’s 1968 Greensburg speech with changing his life, with opening his eyes to the importance and relevance of history in current affairs, and with leading to his career in public service. Shaffer also referenced the oft-repeated saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Indeed, Pratt agreed that many of the anxieties and issues facing current-day America could easily be juxtaposed into the re-enacted speech. In that way, he said, the re-enactment is important in helping drive home to students — to anyone who cares to learn — the relevance of history in serving as blueprint for current and future political and economic struggles.

Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.

1
Text Only
News
  • nws-gb073114 miss tree city preview photo Miss Tree City to be named in Saturday ceremony GREENSBURG — Five contestants will vie Saturday to serve as Miss Tree City and to reign over the Tree City Fall Festival in late September.The competition will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Greensburg Learning Center, 422 E. Central Ave. Admission

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb073114 Steam show 1 jpg Indiana Pioneer Engineers Club Steam Engine Show and Reunion starts today The 66th annual Indiana Pioneer Steam Engine Show and Reunion will be held beginning today and continue through Aug. 3 at Caldwell Acres, 3707 South CR 200W. For more than half a century, Rush County has hosted members and visitors from all over the

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Inside Indiana Business with Indiana with Gerry Dick Grants Boost Arts InitiativesMore than 260 groups and individuals are sharing in nearly $2.7 million to support arts programs. The Indiana Arts Commission says the funding is from federal and state sources and will go to organizations including the

    July 31, 2014

  • Thank you for helping fight child abuse Thank you for fighting child abuseDear Editor:My name is Bill Parsons, this year’s organizer of the Devin Lee Parsons Never Be Forgotten Ride, Fighting Against Child Abuse.I want to thank all our sponsors; you have all helped us get closer to our goa

    July 31, 2014

  • nws-gb073114-lions club pic Greensburg Lions seeking new members for service GREENSBURG – =Newly-elected president Darryl Cruser opened his first meeting of the Greensburg Lions Club Monday evening at the Decatur County REMC meeting room.The Lions enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Koch’s for their monthly meeting and chat

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decatur County Events Calendar Local clubs, service groups, fraternal organizations and others are encouraged to send their Coming Events information to the Daily News at news@greensburgdailynews.com or Daily News, PO Box 106, Greensburg, IN 47240. All July – International Crafts

    July 31, 2014

  • Young's Social Impact Bond Act a bipartisan effort ANN ARBOR, Mich. – We live in an era of eroding faith in government while we face an array of intractable problems.U.S. Rep. Todd Young entered Congress as part of the 2010 Tea Party wave that was fueled by distrust of an expanding federal government

    July 31, 2014

  • Man dies in collision with semi GREENSBURG – Police say a Greensburg man died early Wednesday from injuries sustained when his car collided with a semi trailer at the intersection of State Road 3 and Highway 421.Information provided by Greensburg Chief of Police Stacey Chasteen sta

    July 31, 2014

  • nws-gb073114-youth to yellowstone pic 2 Yellowstone trip forges friendships, lasting memories GREENSBURG – It took about 26 hours for several local students to travel by van to Yellowstone National Park earlier this month, but it took far less time for the group to become friends of the closest kind.Soon-to-be seniors from all three local hig

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Club Chatter Night Club Extension HomemakersThe Night Club met July 2, 2014 at the home of Liz Hally with Janet Bedel as “absentee” co-hostess. Seven members were in attendance with one guest, Isabell Royce. Loretta Macyauski, vice president, opened the meeting b

    July 30, 2014