In less than a week, we as a nation will remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I was not alive at the time, having been born eight years later. However, I have been fascinated with all things JFK for most of my life. I am not alone. 50 years later, Kennedy continues to have a very strong grip upon us both as a country, and as a people. He was the young, charming, charismatic, handsome president. A slew of brand new books about the assassination alone have recently hit the shelves, to go alongside the numerous ones which have been previously written. His name has come up probably more than any other president within pop culture. From “Good Times” to “Sex in the City”, he’s been mentioned. He remains the one with an incomplete, unfinished legacy. How differently would the world be today had he not lost his life?
Some feel the story of the Kennedy assassination is old, and should be put to rest. I disagree with that. Whether you remember that tragic time or not, we all lost something.Those who remember the era of Camelot lost their leader within a matter of hours. For those of us who came along later, we were deprived of gettiing to know him at all, except via books and TV footage. It’s something we have been trying to duplicate for decades. From Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to Barack Obama, we’ve compared them and their families with the Kennedys one way or another. However, there was something dynamic about JFK we have not seen since that time, which makes him nearly impossible to forget.
He was a flawed man. There were blunders made during his brief presidency. He didn’t have all the answers. He was on intense doses of medication in an effort to conceal his severe health problems. There were the other women. In spite of this, he remains one of our most beloved Presidents. Perhaps to some it makes him seem more human. To others, the way he lost his life overshadows all of that. I prefer to focus on his expertise during the Cuban Missile Crisis, creation of the Peace Corps, drafting of the civil rights bill, his decision not to accept a salary.
Whether you admire JFK, dislike him, or are indifferent towards him, this is a time for respect and reflection. In this fast-paced Twitter/ Instagram/ Facebook, i-phone society we live in, I am both pleased and surprised to see the extensive amount of programs being shown on TV in his honor during this time. Allow him to have this moment in the spotlight. It is something so many of us need, and something he deserves.