Leader Herald Staff
It is 54 years and counting since that dark, dreary day on November 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, presumably by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was likely acting alone but we’ll never know for sure.
We won’t know for sure because Oswald never got the chance to tell his side of the story about his involvement in the assassination. He was killed on national television in the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters by a local barowner and gangster, Jack Ruby. This was before JFK was buried with pomp and circumstance in Arlington National Cemetery — a moment in time seemingly etched into the hearts and minds of all Americans who can remember that day and year when we were young and the nation tumbled into a time of sadness about the death of the young president.
It was not just the death of the young president bothering us, it was the death of someone really handsome and alive, entertaining and smart, Irish and witty, liked madly by the ladies. His image admired around the world.
His death was the end of Camelot, as many writers of the era have noted.
Fifty four years and counting and so much about JFK, his life, his death and his legacy are all subjects still up for grabs.
His life, we all know, was about success and rising to the top of the political mountain in America — no easy feat at a time when a Catholic president had never been elected.
No city and town or state, red or blue was a stranger to that day 54 years ago when Kennedy was killed and our lives changed and we lost that magical man who knew how to charm nearly everyone and who had something to say about everything.
Most of us who recall that day and year are older now but we recall clearly where we were and how we reacted to the news that the president had been shot.
In a long life in these United States it is a moment one tends not to forget.
Nor does the image of this entire area being plunged into darkness by the death of one of our own, a Massachusetts native educated here, who loved sailing and playing touch football and who promised to land a man on the moon by 1970.
He never got the chance to age.
His death freezes JFK in time and space.
We can only recall the image of him as a young man with his life stretching before him like an endless dream when he met his end much too early in Dallas.
Revisionist historians are all over the place about his mark on the American political arena. Some say he was great and others claim he wasn’t so great claiming Vietnam was his monster and Cuba his mistake with the down the middle comment that he didn’t serve enough time to make a big enough difference.
We know he had difficulties controlling his sexual urges and his private life was a mess with dozens of interludes with women while he was married — but then — he was the American president, a Caesar of sorts, a Pericles with his words, a Democrat all the way although in today’s political climate his actions would have made him a Republican.
The difference between JFK and all those before him and all those who have followed was his ability to speak, to coin a phrase remembered down the ages, and to always be charming and humorous, self-deprecating and dead serious — a leader to be remembered because he embodied a new generation, one to which the torch had been passed as he put it in his first inaugural.
There was a time, and it was almost a lifetime ago, when JFK was coming on the television we all watched. We watched because of the era, the events, the personalities and among the crowd of them, JFK’s stood out around the world.
Fifty four years and counting and this nation could use a JFK.
He is missed.
He is not forgotten.