A Portrait of America: Watching Robert F. Kennedy’s Funeral Train Pass By

A Portrait of America: Watching Robert F. Kennedy’s Funeral Train Pass By

Following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, his body was taken to New York City for a funeral mass in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. After the completion of the mass, Kennedy’s coffin was transported by a private funeral train from New York to Washington, D.C., to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on June 8.

It was a Saturday, and mourners came out by the hundreds of thousands to line the tracks along the 225-mile journey. A trip that would normally have taken four hours ended up lasting more than eight hours. On board the train that day, on assignment for LOOK magazine, was staff photographer Paul Fusco, who ended up taking thousands of photographs of mourning faces, tributes, and patriotic displays along the way. The collection of photographs ended up becoming more than a document of Kennedy’s final journey; they became a powerful collective portrait of America at a pivotal moment in history. Gathered below, images of that trip from the LOOK Magazine Collection in the Library of Congress.

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