22 11 2013

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago today. I was almost 9 years old as the PA announcement came from Sister Mary Anna at the Catholic grade school that I attended. There was a tear in her voice as she asked us to pray for him as he was in critical condition at a Dallas hospital. He died soon after I returned home to follow the coverage on our black and white TV. JFK was a hero of those of us in the Catholic faith. I remember the electricity generated by his race with Richard Nixon. I and my grade-school friends even got into the fray: “Kennedy, Kennedy, he’s our man, Nixon belongs in the garbage can”. His youthful face, beautiful family, and fresh vision gave him many followers among my generation. November 22, 1963 fired a shot heard around the world. It not only brought intense grief but fear, dread, and the premonition that this was just the beginning.

The race for President in 1960 was close, but when Kennedy was assassinated he was everybody’s president; the leader of the free world. The loss was heavy. Who among us at the time did not stand with Jackie, Caroline, and John-John as they watched the ceremonies and saluted the motorcade? The assassination was a very fresh memory in the mind and heart of my generation when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F Kennedy were assassinated.

I believe these assassinations shaped the world-view of my generation. We will never shake it, it is part of who we are. At his inaugural address, JFK declared: And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. Mr. President, I have heard your words and have answered the call.

Thank you God for the brief time that JFK was given to inspire my generation.




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