Today marks another anniversary of when our President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated, on November 22, 1963.
For many of us old enough to remember, we recall exactly where we were when the news broke that President Kennedy had been shot. My memory is of being in High School, in Study Hall when someone from the school made the announcement over the school loudspeaker. A feeling of disbelief and shock came over not only myself but that of a nation as Walter Cronkite somberly told us the news.
It was a day when America lost not only a young leader and family man but as a nation, it seemed that we lost our innocence. It was a day that Camelot ended.
Camelot is a good word to describe those heady days when our country was graced by the Presidency of John Kennedy. He and his wife personified class, and youth, hope and promise for a better America.
Like a time long since lost in time, there was a king,. Some think today that he was a mythical figure, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. There was a king, a white knight, there was a time when chivalry was king, and fair maidens were to be rescued. It was a time when the light of Arthur had replaced the darkness of an age and time that needed hope and rescues from evil. With Arthur’s death, a time of darkness returned.
John F. Kennedy was our Arthur and Jacqueline was our Guinevere. The best and the brightest came to Washington to work for the people. He was an authentic war hero, and she was class personified. She charmed a nation and many world leaders. Like Arthur before him, his death has made JFK forever young, a life of mythology, grounded in the reality of who he was and what he represented. There was no Merlin the magician, but instead we are left with the memories of a better time. John F. Kennedy left us with our memories of press conferences where his humor was evident. His strength and wisdom is remembered in how he led us through the Cuban Missile Crisis. His speeches have left us with his eloquence and foresight. Most of all, he left to a generation of Americans the belief that we could make a difference in the world and hopefully make the world a better place. The Peace Corps has left an impact on the peoples of the world of what is best in each of us, as people were helped to better their lives. He inspired a generation to serve the people rather than serving themselves. This is what John Fitzgerald Kennedy has left us. We are a poorer place because he left us too soon, but he has left us with the memory of what Camelot must have been like. May he be forever young, and someday, just perhaps Camelot will return, as hope remains eternal.