Kennedy Is Assassinated: Memories, Dreams, History

Kennedy Is Assassinated: Memories, Dreams, History November 22, 2019

 

 

Fifty-six years ago today in Dallas President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated.

It was a lifetime ago. Actually two lifetimes. The parents of adults today were not yet born. Fifty-six years ago is a long time. For most of us today this is simply history. And. For me its memory. Memory seared into my consciousness…

I was fifteen at the time, a sophomore in High School.

I was in school when it happened. And, I recall the announcement over the school loudspeakers. Vividly. Like yesterday vividly…

There were gasps. And moans. A girl sitting next to me on my left started crying softly. I was fifteen and a snot with intellectual pretensions. I was confident I was one of a handful of classmates who even knew what party Kennedy belonged to, or who was his vice-president.

Could even have been true.

I leaned to the desk on my right and with the smarmy all-knowingness that only a fifteen year old can summon up. (Yes, I can hear my friends commenting that they don’t particularly notice any changes from then to now…) And I whispered to a friend, “I wonder what Johnson will be like?”

Of course who knows what changes actually happened because of this event? One could argue it took Johnson’s iron will and mastery of Washington’s inside game to drive through all those social reforms that Kennedy proposed. One could argue Kennedy might have repented of his commitments in Vietnam before we sank neck deep in the Old Muddy. But, then, it was Kennedy’s men who convinced Johnson to continue…

So. Who knows? What can any of us know?

It remains one of those “great what if’s” of history…

A lot of water under a lot of bridges since then. Today JFK seems more the subject for conspiracy buffs than much of anything else. Sort of an icon of decency and hope. With shadows, of course. Lots of shadow in today’s picture.

And, it’s hard for someone not from that time to imagine. There was something about that breath of hope that he stood for, and on which he rode to the presidency.

His Nixonian younger brother also had that air about him.

Another what if of American history.

Dreams pile upon dreams,  like night clouds…


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