Archive | November, 2013

50 Years Ago Today

22 Nov

50 years ago today, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  What happened that day is still felt 50 years later.  Many historians see it is a turning point in American History.  Our country has felt such tragedy, but also many triumphs.  President Kennedy was the first Catholic president of the United States.  His election felt as a triumph by many, that barriers can be broken and that we can move forward as a nation.  I still think there is much that can be learned by his presidency. 

There was a certain aura around John F. Kennedy.  He was a war hero, who struggled with many problems in his life.  He didn’t let his problems hold him back from doing what he wanted.  President Kennedy overcame many challenges just to get the nomination from his party.  He was an anti-communist crusader while in the Senate, but as president he negotiated an end to a nuclear disaster with the Soviet Union.  He made his mistakes early on the Cuban Missile Crisis, but he learned from them and negotiated a volatile situation.

We won’t know exactly what would have happened had he lived the remainder of his term, but we do have some hints.  In 1963, President Kennedy was attempting to pass a Civil Rights bill.  That bill was being held up in congress by Dixiecrats, which made passage extremely difficult.  It is unclear whether the bill would have been able to pass during his presidency.  A war in Vietnam would be a question mark if he survived and got re-elected.  He sent military advisers to Vietnam, but didn’t escalate it to full-scale war while he was president.  There is a possibility that he would have gotten us into war with Vietnam, but we will never know for sure.

President Kennedy’s main legacies were his triumph in solving the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his attempt to get the Civil Rights Bill passed.  Lyndon Johnson was able to pass the Civil Rights bill because of his legislative skills, but also because it was part of Kennedy’s legacy. 

John F. Kennedy was a visionary, who saw great things for this country but sadly didn’’t live to fulfill what he wanted to accomplish.  Even 50 years later, he still stands as a symbol of what this country can be.     

It seems every generation has had at least one event that everyone remembers.  For my grandmother it was Pearl Harbor, JFK’s assassination and 9/11.  My parents lived through the war in Vietnam, John and Bobby Kennedy’s assassination as well as Martin Luther King being shot and killed, and later the horror of 9-11.  I honestly can’t say exactly what September 11th was like compared to Kennedy’s assassination or Pearl Harbor.  What I can say is that each of these tragedies changed our country.  When something bad happens, we grieve but we also try to rationalize why it happened.  Unfortunately we don’t always know why something happens.  We may not always be able to understand why a tragic event happened, but we must be willing to learn from it, and what to do after it.