John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, had been killed by an assassin while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Hot water bottle clutched to my lower belly, I sat transfixed as the news was reported. Days, weeks, months, years later people still talk about the grassy knoll, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and the Warren Commission. One of the most poignant images I still have in my own memory is the one when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as President while aboard Air Force One in the wake of the assassination. There are no smiling faces, just grim images of people doing what was necessary for the country. And Jacqueline Kennedy in her blood-stained pink suit, looks on in shock as she stands beside the new President.
Kennedy's assassination affected people all over the world and here in Canada, it was like losing one of our own. The Kennedy clan has a certain mystique that persists to this day and has even been called American Royalty. I've read books about this family and watched movies about them. They have been touched by the most horrific tragedies yet they persevere in life.
Although I was too young to know much about politics, John Kennedy seemed like a wonderful man to me (even though he was flawed, or perhaps I should say "human" as I later learned), and he and his family epitomized the best of the best. As a relatively young President, Kennedy not only worked hard at his job, but also made sure to take time for his family, allowing young Caroline and John Jr. to romp in the Oval office.
His famous quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country" is embedded in my brain. And I like to remember them as a shining example of brilliance, devotion not only to family but also to country, and deep understanding of the human spirit.
May those Kennedys who have passed away rest in peace and may those still living enjoy peace and tranquility until they join their ancestors in eternity.
So, do you remember where you were on November 23, 1963?