Yes, I do, as if it were yesterday. I remember where I was and what I was doing, when I first heard the news about President Kennedy.
I remember hearing the tapping and then crackling of the PA system, as sound sputtered from the speaker on the wall, preparing for an announcement. I was in a History class, in a high-school band room, when the interruption made everyone stop, look up and listen.
Little did we know that what we were about to hear would forever change history. The first crackling announcement said that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.
A hush swept across the room, as we listened and held our breath, with the news still ringing in our ears.
No one could put their attention back on History, though our teacher tried to distract us from what we just heard in an attempt to pick up where we left off on the last task at hand. What seemed like ages later, the speaker crackled again and what we had silently feared was finally spoken aloud ― “President John F. Kennedy is dead.”
As I look at the images of Jacqueline Kennedy and listen to the “Abraham-Martin-And-John” song below, I remember, and tears well up in my eyes and my heart wants to cry once more.
Now, 50 years later, with a husband, children and grandchildren of my own, I can only begin to feel and imagine the despair, shock, torn heart and broken spirit a bride and her young family endured that day.
It took a strong woman with courage to lead our country through the final, fateful days that followed. I don’t know how she did it. I only know from my past experiences, when the NEED is great, GRACE is greater.
I suppose every generation remembers a gripping event, when it seems as if time stopped and the world was spinning out of control. My parents remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor, much the same as we remembered Kennedy’s assassination. The younger generation will remember where they were when they heard of the first plane that flew into the World Trade Center.
For three days following Kennedy’s death, families across the United States were huddled in front of small, black-and-white, screened TV’s, hanging on every word, following events as they unfolded. We were numb and grief-stricken, even those whose politics didn’t particularly side with the party and President in office at the time.
In each generation, there are people who are bigger than life. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were among those and even, if you look at the entertainment industry, Elvis was another. Though we knew they weren’t perfect, there was something special about them that made us feel safe, gave us hope, admired and enjoyed.
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” – Abraham Lincoln
Only time will tell who will stand out in history and remain forever in our memories. People like these are rare, whether it’s one of strong character with a gift of words with depth that inspires us to move forward to new possibilities; or, another, easy on the eyes, with music to dream on and an unforgettable voice.
“One person can make a difference and every person should try” ― John F Kennedy
What happened to us? Can ideal standards again be realized today or will they lie dormant in the hearts of men waiting for another time? It’s up to us. Today, we need more leaders to come forward with the character of Lincoln, Kennedy and King, where words spoken can be trusted and public service rendered is for the good of all, not for personal gain.
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” ― John F Kennedy
I have a dream. . .
“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why … I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” ~~ Robert Kennedy
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table
1 – John F Kennedy White House Photo – Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org at Free Use Images on Google Search
2 – Jackie Kennedy Images – Courtesy of mail.com at Free Use Images on Google Search
3 – John John Saluting the Flag – Courtesy of nbcnews.com at Free Use Images on Google Search
4 – Gathering of Presidents at Eternal Flame – Courtesy of washingtonpost.com at Free Use Images on Google Search