Out of TIME

Out of TIME November 17, 2003

Via Jeanne and Eve I was directed to this site, where you can find the cover of TIME from any week in the magazine's history.

This, as they note, allows you to see who or what was on the cover of TIME during the week in which you were born.

I knew before looking what the cover would show for mine. I was born three days after the presidential primary election in California. TIME's cover for that week shows the winner of that election, Robert F. Kennedy, who was killed that same day — shot down while speaking to supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

My mother told me the story many times of watching Bobby Kennedy's funeral on television from a bed in Muhlenberg Hospital. She heard Ted Kennedy's eulogy, and then I was born.

Mom used to joke that she hoped I heard that speech — that it offered all the advice she might have wanted to give to her youngest son on the day he was born.

You can read the speech for yourself (and hear it on Realaudio) via the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Most of the speech consists of the words of Robert Kennedy himself:

There [are] wrongs which [need] attention. There [are] people who [are] poor and who [need] help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off. …

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. …

For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves, on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that effort.

The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.

Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.

Mom was right. That's still good advice.

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  • katster

    There was a two week lag in Time covers when I was born, but my mother recalls watching news coverage on Jonestown while being in the hospital both before and after my birth. And then, being a Californian by birth, the Moscone/Milk assassination happened. November 1978 was an auspicious month.

  • End of the World

    You lucky bastards. I have a cover featuring the new candidate Ronald Reagan and his boy wonder Bush senior. Thanks for the birthday present, world. Just what I wanted! A president who consults astrologers.

  • Time Out

    Via Fred Clark at Slacktivist, I am reminded that you can search for the Time magazine cover from the week of your birth. Here’s mine, entitled “The Computer in Society”: Born under the sign of the punchcard, that’s me.

  • Kevin Carson

    Interesting. I was six days old when Kennedy was shot; so I guess I know what would have been on the cover the week AFTER I was born.

  • spider

    Don’t you start, EotW. I’ve got Kissinger.

  • Ron

    Wait do you count the date or the actual cover of the week? Or is that question a little obsessive/compulsive?

  • Time Magazine’s cover history

    The Slacktivist has a link to Time Magazine’s coversearch. See what the cover was during the week you were born! Here’s mine: August 26, 1966…