Sunday, November 22, 2015

52 years


Today is the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. For any of us who remember the day, it is one of those "where were you? moments" that haunt us all to this day.

My memory of this day was when Mrs. Newhouse, my first- grade teacher at Argos Elementary School, was called out into the hall. She returned moments later teary-eyed and crying as she told us the president had been killed. Our President.

For young children, the President was our hero. He was young, handsome, vibrant, energetic and lively. And sadly, we learned he was not impervious.

School, of course, was called off and we were sent home to our parents. When my sister and I got home from school it was clear to me, even at the age of six, that both my Mom and Dad were profoundly stunned by the president's assassination.

I remember that night sitting in bed praying that this was just a bad dream. It was worse than that.

The coming days were a national nightmare. Questions arose, "how could this happen? Why did this happen?" The funeral, the procession from the Capitol rotunda to Arlington National Cemetery.

Those days brought an end to an innocence to which I believe we have not recovered. The end of Camelot changed us all. I think we became more cynical, far less idealistic and more distrustful.

One has to wonder how our country would have fared differently if Martin, Bobby and John had not been gunned down before America's eyes.

Some believe Vietnam would never have happened under a Kennedy administration. Most believe Kennedy would have been re-elected the next year.

Nearly everyone harbors their own thoughts about Kennedy's assassination. Was Oswald part of a conspiracy? Was he a "lone wolf?" Castro, the Mafia, Kruschev, Johnson? one of Kennedy's secret service agents? Who killed John? Theories, to this day, bounce around the public consciousness. And so many, myself included, do not believe we have been told the whole story--or the truth.

In any case, few events have haunted a generation as has the death of our young president. Mr. President, we yearn for what might have been.

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