The busboy who cradled a dying RFK has finally stepped out of the past
A Roosevelt High School student who had moved north from Mexico at the age of 10, Romero recalled the photos of President John F. Canada Goose online Kennedy that hung alongside those of Pope John XXIII in the homes of Mexican families.
He worked at the hotel after school and had delivered room service to Kennedy earlier in the Canada Goose sale week. He knew he’d never forget the way Kennedy treated him and the pride he felt, and now he wanted to congratulate him as the candidate canada goose factory sale made his way through a kitchen service area. Romero reached out, took Kennedy’s hand, and watched him slump to the floor as gun blasts echoed.
The black and white photos of that moment, by Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times and Bill Eppridge of Life magazine, are as haunting now as they were 47 years ago.
RFK, who for many people represented hope for social justice, racial tolerance and an end to the war in Vietnam, lies on his back, limbs splayed. Romero squats at his side in white service jacket, a young witness to horror, his hand cradling Kennedy’s head.
“I wanted to protect his head from the cold concrete,” says Romero, who went to school the next day with Kennedy’s blood crusted under his fingernails, refusing to wash it away.
canada goose deals In the photos, disbelief and despair gathered in Juan Romero’s dark eyes, and he would carry the weight of that moment through the decades. canada goose clearance I knew this canada goose store when canada goose clearance sale I first met him on the 30th anniversary of the assassination, and his pain was just as raw 12 years later in 2010, when I went with him to RFK’s gravesite in Arlington, Va., where Romero knelt, paid his respects and wept once more. canada goose deals
He spoke to me canada goose coats each time about his regrets, his sense of duty to the Kennedy legacy, and a lingering feeling of guilt. I told him there was no uk canada goose outlet rational reason to feel guilty.
buy canada goose jacket But the shooting had wounded his psyche. On far too many nights he lay awake wondering if Kennedy would still be alive if he hadn’t paused to shake a busboy’s hand. buy canada goose jacket
Two years ago, Zwiener came upon my column canada goose coats on sale about Romero’s visit to Arlington. She wrote to me saying she was touched by his humanity, and didn’t believe he needed to ask Kennedy’s forgiveness, as he had that day in Arlington. Not long after that, Zwiener sent Romero a message.
buy canada goose jacket cheap Many have reached out to Romero over the years, and canada goose uk black friday he appreciated their concern but wondered as to their motives. He didn’t want pats on the back he didn’t feel he deserved, or comments that stoked his own second guessing of his actions that night. He hoped Zwiener wasn’t yet another “somebody who wants to feel sorry canada goose outlet for me.” buy canada goose jacket cheap
canada goose coats But Zwiener came across differently. canada goose coats
canadian goose jacket “She really wanted to see how I was doing, and to find out if she could do anything to make it easier on my conscience,” Romero said. canadian goose jacket
canada goose He answered back. She responded. They became pen pals, then began talking by phone. canada goose
Canada Goose sale Zwiener is not a trained therapist, but she works with special needs children in Germany, and Romero felt that he could talk to her in ways he had never been able to with other friends or his own family. In time, they began talking about his struggle. Canada Goose sale
“I don’t think she intended canadian goose jacket to fix me initially,” says Romero, “but as we came to Canada Goose Online know each other, she knew something was broken in me.”
One day, while visiting his mother in Tulare, his guilt surfaced again while he spoke to Zwiener by phone. He said she comforted him by saying that in some of the photos, taken just moments after the shooting, the shoes of bystanders can be seen at a safe distance from Kennedy. But there’s Juan, who didn’t take cover, trying to help a man in need.
canada goose black friday sale Romero canada goose black friday sale traveled to Germany to meet Zwiener, her husband and their children, and the Zwieners came to California. Last August, Romero buy canada goose jacket cheap returned to the site of the assassination with Zwiener. canada goose black friday sale
canada goose coats on sale The hotel is long gone, and in its place is a cheap canada goose uk school and RFK memorial bearing Kennedy’s words, which read in part: “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, it sends out a cheap Canada Goose tiny ripple of hope.” canada goose coats on sale
Zwiener worried about Romero’s ability to handle the visit. As they approached, she trembled, but was relieved to see that even though Romero wept quietly, he was OK.
On another day Zwiener carried a book that had those iconic photos of Romero at the Ambassador the photos he had glanced at once or twice in nearly half a century, but never studied. She turned to the photos and buy canada goose jacket described what she saw.
“Juan slowly, slowly Canada Goose Coats On Sale dared to take a look,” she said.
canada goose clearance When I asked Romero what he saw, he said: canada goose clearance
Canada Goose Outlet “I saw a person in need and another person canada goose uk outlet trying to help him.” Canada Goose Outlet
Canada Goose Parka Romero moved to Wyoming shortly after the assassination. He needed for his own sanity to leave the Ambassador, where guests insisted on being photographed with him. Canada Goose Parka
cheap Canada Goose He returned to Los Angeles before long but later settled in San Jose, where he continues to work as a concrete and asphalt paver. It’s good exercise, he told me when I visited last uk canada goose week, and it keeps him young. cheap Canada Goose
Canada Goose online On each anniversary of https://www.canadagoose-jackets-online.com RFK’s death, Romero takes flowers to a memorial in downtown San Jose, where Kennedy delivered a speech during his winning Canada Goose Parka primary run. Romero misses Kennedy, or at least what Kennedy seems to have represented as a statesman and presidential candidate. He misses him all the more in the midst of a current campaign in which Canada Goose Outlet the hottest topic is a proposal to build a higher wall between Mexico and the United States. Canada Goose online
canada goose clearance sale “He made me feel like a regular citizen,” Romero says of the night he delivered room service to Kennedy. “He made me feel like a human being. He didn’t look at my color, he didn’t look at my position. and like I tell everybody, he shook my hand. I didn’t ask him.” canada goose clearance sale
Romero has always believed the best way to honor Kennedy is to live a life of tolerance, to work Canada Goose Jackets hard, to take care of family, and to not be a burden.
canada goose store “I don’t know if you can understand this, but [what happened in 1968] has made me more humble,” Romero said. “It made me realize that no matter how much hope you have, it can be taken away in a second.” canada goose store.