01rfk600

I cannot be alone in immediately having my mind leap to Robert Kennedy's funeral train as I watched Obama's Inaugural express make its way toward Washington yesterday. Forty years. The same crowds along the tracks; the same intensity of emotion - but now inverted from crippling grief to tentative hope; the connection between one human being and the millions of others who sensed and sense that he understands, like few others do, the crisis we face and the American character we now need. Here is a very affecting oral memory of that RFK train by the photographer, Robert Fusco, who helped sear it into global consciousness.

For me it feels as if history is undoing itself, as if some great, dark wound has somehow returned to be healed, before it is too late.

Bhotrainchipsomodevillagetty

Another from 1968:

F4

And yesterday:

Bhotrain2christopherfurlonggetty

Know hope.

(Photos by Robert Fusco in 1968 and Christopher Furlong and Chip Somodevilla 2009.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.