It is impossible to imagine for those of us who lived through the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that 59 years have passed since that fateful day in November.
The photo used with this editorial has been with me since 1963.
For many of us Baby Boomers just starting out in our lives, JFK’s death at the hands of an assassin’s bullet in Dallas, Texas was all about things to come.
The nation was veering off its path, descending into an era of social revolution and violence, promiscuity and liberalism and all the while the Vietnam War was heating up, preparing to take a generation of our youth before we finally came to our senses and stopped the war.
All of us who remember JFK, who recall that time in our lives when we were riveted by his speaking ability, his handsomeness, his Irishness, his wit and his charm, have always hoped for another JFK.
Now a lifetime has passed. His memory fades. Remembrance of our own lives at this time seems further and further away as the years pass.
The luster of JFK’s life has been tarnished a bit by revisionist history.
He was a ladies man, unfaithful to his wife at all times whenever possible, and he had secrets.
However when we think back to JFK, we recall a time in our lives when the future looked brighter than it does today, to a time in our lives when life in America was more solid than it is today.
America seemed a safer place then. The empire was still rising. The specter of atomic war was oppressive. The contest with Russia intensified.
JFK promised to get us to the moon – and that promise was kept – not by him, but by Richard Nixon.
He forced the desegregation of colleges and universities in southern states where Blacks were refused entry.
Above all, JFK looked and acted like a president. He was a war hero. He was a Harvard guy. He was a rich man’s son who could buy and sell most of the people he met with inside the White House.
JFK couldn’t be bought- and in the end – he paid for that.
A bit later his brother Robert F. Kennedy paid the same price during an insane time in our national history when we lost the best and the brightest, including Martin Luther King.
Thinking back to JFK is thinking back to my late Mom and Dad, to our home, the security and ease I felt in my life, to the greatness, if you will, that was America at that time.
I do not recall a politician as attractive as JFK in all the years that followed his untimely death.
There have been other bright lights – but none quite like him.
And so on November 22 I think about JFK and what might have been with his life and with my own.