Sneaking Into History

By Richard Valles, a photographer (THE NEW YORK TIMES, 05/06/08):

It was spring 1968. I was a teenager and had just gotten my driver’s license when I decided to take my parents’ Chevy Impala from Paramount, the suburb where we lived, into downtown Los Angeles. I had heard that Robert F. Kennedy would be giving a speech on Olvera Street, near Union Station, and I wanted to shake his hand.

I approached the street, pulled over and parked. I grabbed my Honeywell Pentax and followed the crowds. I climbed onto the bandstand that would serve as the platform for Senator Kennedy’s speech. Guards were shooing away anyone without a press pass, but I dodged them and lay on my stomach behind the bass player of a mariachi band.

Sweltering, I waited two hours for the senator to arrive. Although I never got that handshake, I did manage to preserve a moment in history.