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JFK

It was afternoon and I was on my way to a chemistry class. I had stopped for a drink of water when the news came over the speakers in the classrooms.

For those who weren’t alive at the time: remember what you felt on September 11, 2001 for a taste of November 22, 1963. It was a massive change for the worldview of my generation and it marked the beginning of a period of disruption and decline in the civility of American society. Arthur had died and Camelot fell.

At his inauguration John Kennedy made the point: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

The colors of my world will never be as bright as they were on November 21, 1963.

The last seven years have been a nadir in American life. Hopefully we can recapture some of the greatness America once represented.

4 comments

1 Steve Bates { 11.22.07 at 1:13 am }

High school geometry class. Second seat; we were seated alphabetically. The principal choked up a bit on the P.A. as he announced first Kennedy’s being shot, then, a short while later, his death. All of us were stunned into near-silence; you know what it takes to do that to a group of 10th-graders.

America has the capacity for greatness. Our constitutional governmental structure is designed to make greatness possible. Kennedy made a worthy attempt at it: for all his imperfections, he deserves much of the praise he receives today. It is my sincere hope that we can recover the drive toward genuine representative government, and toward that leadership in pursuit of genuine international cooperation which we once considered an ideal. May the memory of John F. Kennedy inspire us as we pursue that goal.

2 Michael { 11.22.07 at 1:14 am }

Closest I can come is remembering when the Challenger explosion happened. It was a major setback to the dream of space exploration, for sure.

3 Mustang Bobby { 11.22.07 at 7:37 am }

Grade 6, Toledo, Ohio. One of my classmates came out of the gym locker room and said, “Kennedy’s dead.” I thought he meant one of my classmates whose name was Kennedy.

The rest of the day and that weekend were a blur of black and white TV images — Air Force One and the casket, Oswald and Ruby, the slow parade, the muffled drums, “Eternal Father…” the eternal flame — and the scary knowledge that the world had changed and not for the better.

4 Bryan { 11.22.07 at 9:54 am }

We all have our “bookmarks” during our lives. Hopefully we end up with more good ones than bad.

The man wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the term, but those who followed will certainly not be remembered with any great sympathy, although they occasionally did some good things, if only by accident, rather than design.