Sunday, November 22, 2009

Remembering JFK

Each year during the past forty six, there has been less and less said about JFK's assasination. It appalls me, but I understand that most of us living today weren't even born in 1963. I was kind of in love with the Kennedy administration even though I was still too young to have voted for him. His legacy today, however, is laced with a kind of blandness as though aside from his youth, his wit and charisma, his attractive young family, he really accomplished very little.

This is blatently wrong. Kennedy's greatness grows with each year even though the tributes wane. True, he allowed Khruschev to get the upper hand (at first). Also true, that the Berlin Wall went up during his tenure. Indeed, he resided over the Bay of Pigs fiasco and we're all aware of his "indiscretions."

But I believe today, that had that young president lived, he might have been one of our greatest leaders. Remember, he had only a thousand days in which to accomplish his agenda.

The thing I remember about the Kennedy administration was the sense of idealism and public service it inspired in our youth, more than I have seen since, even though President Obama came close in 2008. We wanted to serve; patriotism was not just a word being being thrown back in our faces when we disagreed with government's policies, it was a conviction. We believed passionately and reacted fervently.

As for his accomplisments, take note: the Peace Corps, the Alliance for Progress, Civil Rights legislation, the Space Program and the introduction of the Green Berets. His major accomplisment, however, was a tight and tense little psychological drama between the USA and the USSR known as The Cuban Missile Crisis, which, without the successful maneuvering of the Kennedys, might have left the world in a state of nuclear disaster.

I guess his potential greatness will never be known which is what happens when someone takes you out before your time. But I think when all is said and done, his star will ultimately shine as one of the brightest.

And though there seem to be few tributes today, JFK, this forty-sixth anniversary of your assasination, I remember. And I am grateful to have learned my political abcs under your leadership. You never blamed others for your mistakes -- you took your lumps with calm and grace. How refreshing it would be if our leaders today would learn to do the same.

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