Sunday, November 17, 2013

Remembering Mr. President

At the end of the week, an anniversary will arrive. It will be 50 y ears since an American president was murdered. The media hasn’t forgotten the interest in this man and makes sure America’s citizens today still see the assassination as it happened with film footage. I remember the time well and need no reminder. Seeing the films again brings back the horror and stunned breathlessness of that day.

I was in fifth and sixth grade when John Kennedy was coming to the front of politics. A wonderful teacher was teaching Civics…making us aware of current events. I listened. I became interested. I started listening to speeches, following campaigns, celebrating elections. JFK gave me a sense of real belonging; I wanted to do for my country!

Then when I was a freshman, the bullet took him out and changed America. There was a rumble in the halls during lunch; rumors flew, worry lines formed on faces. We went on to our afternoon classes which put me in my most hated class ever, Algebra, with a detestable man. We had not gotten far into class when the intercom announced the death of our President. I will never forget the smirk on the teacher’s face as he watched some of us crumble. Remember, this was in Republican Kansas but still there were believers in the dream of Camelot.

School was dismissed, and we went home early for a long weekend to deal with the shock.

Since then, many unsavory details have come to light about the man John Kennedy and the President JFK. I don’t like them, but they don’t erase the feeling I had in those days. Many dismiss Kennedy as just a randy Irish Catholic. They may be correct, but I think despite his inadequacies there is still much to admire. I don’t deny his weaknesses, but I choose to see the leadership he gave despite his defects. It can’t be denied that he galvanized a generation to action, tried to move the world towards a better place.

Maybe JFK’s faults gave us as much as his virtues. Maybe we should see that despite being less than perfect he did do good things and went down doing what he thought was right—in parts of his life anyway. After all, Camelot was a mythical place and John Kennedy was a flesh and blood man, but one who stood a little above the rest even if on feet of clay.


Sioux said...

Claudia--Yes, Kennedy was not perfect. He was a flawed human, just like we all are.

Thanks for sharing "where you were when it happened."

Linda O'Connell said...

You should send this to your newspaper editorial department. This is great!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

As Sioux pointed out, he was only human, after all. I was only 3 when he was assassinated and so have no recollection of the events, but of course have read so much about him and his presidency over the years. And Linda is right - you should send this out!

Susan said...

Ohhh, Bookie. I remember that dark day in history when JFK was killed. I was riding home from high school on a bus when it was announced. I was heartbroken and remember crying and feeling so desolate.

JFK didn't have to work at all. His family was incredibly rich. Yet he and his brothers chose to serve this country.

I remember being in a third world country a couple of years before he was killed. In a poverty stricken shack with a dirt floor, there was a photo of JFK on the wall.

He had charisma, that's for sure.

Yes, he was human and made some really bad choices but who among us doesn't?

Thanks for this tribute, Bookie. Susan p.s. Thanks, too, for all your visits to my blog. Love when you come by.