Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Date

I'm not sure what date and time will show up on this post's time stamp (couldn't make sense of the choices WordPress gave), but right now it's still November 22. A date anyone old enough to remember has ingrained in his or her gray cells.  You remember where you were and what you were doing when you got the news that Pres. Kennedy was assassinated.

I was in 5th grade, Mrs. Hursey's class.  None of us could believe it. On the day of the funeral, I remember being home and watching on tv.  I saw John-John's salute to his Father (and yes, no matter that he became the fine young man he did, I still always thought of him as "John-John").  I learned the Navy Hymn ("Eternal Father, Strong to Save").  Americans were one (well, at least the vast majority of us) in our grief.

I'm sad to see now that for the younger generations, he's solely someone in the archives of history.  Historians can debate how good a President he was, but I know how he made the country feel.  We felt hopeful and ready for new possibilities.  We could meet challenges like puting a man on the moon.  He really seemed to appeal to the young; the fact that youth could buy into his leadership and thus the system was important for citizenship (we're just beginning to get this "buy-in" back!).  He had charisma and a sense of humor which drew us to him. His family was appealing, too.  I can still remember the story about Caroline telling on her father, that he was sitting with his shoes off and feet on the desk.

It truly was a sad day when we lost him. It seems we lost so much more; certainly we'll never know what he would have accomplished in a second term; how different the country might be now if that had happened.  I'm glad though that some of us remember.  Those years may have been turbulent at times, but there did seem to be a sense that society was working toward progress even if it was in fits and starts.

Today is also my friend Ruth's birthday (so fat chance of me ever forgetting that!).  A shout-out and Happy Birthday to her.

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