Friday, November 22, 2013

Rant #1,090: 50 Years

I cannot believe that today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Fifty years is a long time, and on the other hand, it really isn't.

I can remember so vividly where I was, what I was doing, and what I did in the aftermath of his murder.

I am going to set a precedent here by re-running, in part, a Rant that I made way back in 2010, on Nov. 22, then the 47th anniversary, Rant #380, which I titled "Our Bleakest Moment."

It pretty much sums up everything I wanted to say then, and three years later, it still does.

Here is the edited Rant:

"It is hard to believe, but 47 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a Dallas, Texas, motorcade.

Kennedy was the last of our beloved Presidents, the last President whose picture hung in people's homes. Sure, we have found out that he was a surly, womanizing adulterer in the intervening years, but back in 1963, he was a "rock star" before that was acknowledged as a way that one handled themselves.

He was young, vibrant, had a beautiful wife, young kids, and he pointed to the vitality of the United States.

When he died, I think our innocence went with it. The 1950s clearly ended, and the 1960s--the years of protest, war, murders, and many other eye-opening events--truly started.

I have often told this story, and I may have even told it here, but I will tell it again.

I was in first grade in P.S. 165, a good grammar school that still stands (under a different name) in Flushing, New York. I was six years old.

I seem to remember that it was nearing the end of the day in Mrs. Gold's classroom. All of a sudden, the next door teacher ran into the room in tears and screamed, "The President has been shot!"

A few moments later, the principal came on the PA system, explained what happened (or at least, gave us an update on what happened), and we were let out of school.

We ran home in horror, and I can remember sitting in front of our old black and white Dumont TV and being mesmerized by the images I saw. I even remember calling my mother into the living room when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby on national television.

And yes, I remember John John saluting his dad as the flag-laden coffin passed him.

In the 47 years which have passed, so much has happened. John John and Jackie are gone, Caroline moves along, Ted is gone and so is Bobby, who was also murdered just a few years later ... and the Kennedys are no longer much of a force in our political scene.

I, personally, have grown from a young child to a man, with my own family and responsibilities.

But that moment--when the teacher burst into the room with the news--is something that I will never forget.

I will never forget where I was when we heard he had been shot.

It is one of the touchstones of my life, and probably for most Baby Boomers who were old enough to remember that moment."
Now, incredibly, it is 50 years since that moment in time that will stick with us forever.

It is hard to believe, isn't it?

And TV continues to be the center of the coverage, with numerous specials dedicated to that moment in time.

I really don't know if I am going to watch any of them. How many times can you go over the same thing?

This is an incident that still touches us like no other moment--save, quite probably, 9/11--in at least my own lifetime.

We were the kids of that generation, the people that JFK was something of a father figure to. Many of his policies laid the groundwork for what we would experience while growing up into adults.

Unfortunately, his beacon was snuffed out way too early. 

There is no telling where his presidency would have gone if he had lived. 

He was much more conservative in his politics than his brothers were, but conservative or not, the general populace loved this guy, and to me, he was our last, final across-the-board popular President.

Now, it is 50 years ...

Have we grown as a country, as a planet, as a world since this event happened?

With all the senseless gun violence that still fills up the news today, I just don't know.

I think the jury is out on that one.

But one thing I do know is that that moment in time, 50 years ago today, will seemingly never burn out. This will be looked at for many generations to come, and will be debated forever.

The world did change when JFK was gunned down, and I know the life of every baby boomer--me included--changed too.

No comments:

Post a Comment


yasmin lawsuit