Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Somber Anniversary...
November 22, 1963, Forty-five years later...

Maybe my memory is fading as I age, which is entirely possible, or maybe it's just the passing of the years that pushes things further and further back, resulting in my memories becoming something akin to Ancient History. While online this evening, I looked down at my computer clock in the right hand corner, and for some reason, moved my mouse over it, which reveals the date. November 22nd. The Day President John F. Kennedy was gunned down.
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I was too young at the time, all of 10 years old, to actually know much about the President, or how good of a President he was, and I couldn't fully appreciate the devastating political problems of that time, such as The Cold War, Guantanamo Bay, or the Cuban Missile Crisis. I didn't know much about anything at all when I was 10, and living in North Idaho, we were far, far away from the racial problems and general unrest of those turbulent times.
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The general consensus seems to be that JFK had made some fairly serious political mistakes early in his term, but that he was coming of age, and would have only gotten better and better, if he'd not been Taken Away. When I see his picture, he doesn't look like Old News; there's still something fresh and vibrant in his character, humor and appearance; it's almost as if he could somehow magically come back down to earth and Pick Up Where He Left Off.


John F. Kennedy seemed to have the hopes, wishes and dreams of All Of Us pinned upon his lapel. Hopes, wishes and dreams that were eradicated with a few bullets from the Texas School Book Depository in Downtown Dallas. I think that was the first time in my life when I felt fear, like somehow, the Nasty Old World had managed to worm its way into my Psyche, interrupting, for a time, my childhood. I couldn't fully appreciate it, but hindsight tells me he was taken away from ALL of us.

It wasn't until 1980 that I had really felt the sting of someone being taken away from me, when John Lennon was gunned down. I'm not equating Lennon's importance with JFK's; but with Lennon's passing, I felt cheated, I felt shock and horror, with the empty realization that The Dream Was Over. That must've been similar to the way adults, young and old alike, felt about John F. Kennedy being senselessly gunned down As The Nation Watched.

Soon, this country will have Another Dynamic Young President. He has the potential to be Really Great. Like Kennedy, he'll make mistakes along the way, but when he speaks, he speaks of dreams, of things we can do, and holds out the hope that Things Can Indeed Get Better. I find myself caring more, now, about the Presidency, than I have in much, much too long of a time. And maybe things will be okay, or at least improve somewhat, which is really all I ask.

Back in 1963, the Young President was still a couple of generations older than me. Now, the Young President is Younger than me by quite a few years. I'm excited that he's "a breath of fresh air", yet has the sense to put experienced people around him to help him navigate what has to be the Toughest Job In The World. And I don't ask much of the President. I just want a President I can be proud of. A scandal-free President who will Talk to Us and Reassure Us. I hope we can all somehow come to Unite behind him. If all he focuses on for a while is the economy and reducing our involvement in Iraq, then perhaps this country will be on the way to some kind of Healing.

I'm glad that I managed to remember the date of November 22nd once again. It's forever a part of me. My 4th grade teacher had left the classroom for a moment, and came back in, weeping. She was a tough old teacher, so I knew something had to be Really Wrong. She told the class, "The President's Been Shot". Things were never, ever the same after that. One can only imagine how different the world might be, but for November 22nd. And the world instantly became a colder, harsher place after November 22nd.

I think I'm finding that I actually care about Our Nation more than I thought I did. I've always been fascinated to see someone who is really good at what they do. And I would like the New President to be really, really good. I have a personal stake in this; I actually Voted, something I haven't done in ages. So, Mr. Obama, "go forward, make us proud." And, Mr. Kennedy, I'll never ever forget you. Even if someday November 22nd whizzes by without me noticing, I'll still carry the memories of you deep within my consciousness. After all, you made us proud.
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Back in 1963, I had read Jim Bishop's book, "The Day Lincoln Was Shot". I'd say that's fairly heavy reading for a ten-year-old. According to the book, those close to the President gathered around him, and immediately upon Lincoln's dying, a Reverend remarked, "He now belongs to the ages." I'll never forget that line. And hearing about JFK's death so soon after reading the Lincoln book really blew my mind. At first I thot my teacher, Mrs. Hoppersted, was joking. And then, reality set in...

4 Comments:

Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

Thinking it was a joke, even if a bad one, seems to have been the universal reaction to Kennedy being shot.

1:10 PM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Yeah, Mari, if it was a joke, it was a cruel joke, one that turned into a "Simple Twist Of Fate", as Bob Dylan once sang.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Word Tosser said...

Very well said and felt..

10:18 PM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Because he's young, idealistic and different, I am concerned about Mr. Obama. I've read a number of news articles expressing fear that something might happen to him. He's what this country needs right now, and I hope he remains safe.

10:27 PM  

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