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He died the following day in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 42.

Casey, who was 3 years old at the time of Kennedy’s Friendly Sons speech, said his father brought home an autographed program from the Friendly Sons dinner for his mother, Ellen.

She still has the memento.

“It said, ‘For Ellen, I hope we meet someday - Robert F. Kennedy,’” Casey said.

They never met.

In 2008, Casey shared a recording of the Friendly Sons speech with Kennedy’s brother, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“He said, ‘Thanks for sending me that audio of my brother’s speech. I had heard about that speech for years, but I never actually heard it,’” Casey recalled.

Edward Kennedy died in 2009.

Famous speakers preceded and followed Robert Kennedy to the dais at Friendly Sons’ gatherings, including Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Harry Truman before and after his presidency, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and then-Sen. Joe Biden, the current vice president.

The Kennedy family’s ties to the Friendly Sons continued, with appearances by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his cousin, Mark Shriver,

But Robert Kennedy’s address stands apart.

His poignant display of courage and hope spans generations.

“People of our area will always feel a special part of that story,” Casey said.



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