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Cynique

JFK

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The question that resonated throughout the country on this day is what were you doing on November 22,  l963, when you got the news that President John F Kennedy was assassinated? 

 

I was 30 years old at the time, married with 3 kids, ages 5, 3, and 8 months and around  noon of that day I was just kinda rambling around the house.  My two oldest children were seated on the floor in front of our 24 inch black and white TV, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwichs while watching Bozo's Circus, a local kitty show. 

 

 Still stewing over what I considered a case of racial bias after I was rejected for a part time job in the office of an envelope factory located in the next town over from where I lived, I was restless. I had all the qualifications but I was politely told that they weren't doing any more interviewing and I should probably seek employment elsewhere.     

 

Anyhow as I lingered in front of the TV watching the silly antics taking place between the goofy clown and his sidekick, the program was suddenly interrupted by a bulletin announcement quickly followed by a talking head reporting that shots had been fired at President Kennedy's motorcade as it was crusing down a street in Dallas, Texas. 

 

I  stood there shaking my head, and with the frame of mind I was in,  I immediatly figured that some  disgruntled crackers were shooting at the president because of his civil rights involvement.  The idea that JFK would be seriously or even mortally wounded, was not something I gave any thought to.  But as the newsman continuted to update the events, I dropped down on a foot stool, my eyes glued to the screen.  When his death was confirmed shotly after, I was just stunned.  I couldn't believe that somebody would kill the president of the United States, and I was hungry for more details, wondering who did it, and what this would  mean to the country.

 

Needless to say, for the rest of the day and throughout the night, I rarely took a break from gawking at  what  was unfolding on TV.  Little by little my shock gave way to sadness, and in the days that followed there were tears as I, along with the rest of America,  mourned. Mesmerized by the pageatry and ceremony surrounding the televised  funeral and burial of one of the most powerful men in the free world,  knowing that history was being made, I realized that I was witnessing one of the most monumental and intriguing events of the 20th century. 

 

I liked the witty and charming Kennedy because he was not only stalwsart,  but seemed determined to insure liberty and justice for all.  Everybody was so impressed with his inaugural speech and the question that he posed.  "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."   To most everyone this was an original utterance   But to me, these words were familiar, which made them extra special. I'd  heard them before in a conversation between  my father, who was a Mason and my mother, who was an Eastern Star,  Discussing their disappointment with some of the underhanded goings on within  the local chapters of these organizations, my father had said about certain self serving members, that it behooved them to not ask "what the Masons could do for them but what they could do for the Masons."  

 

Fifty years later, this tragedy still casts a pall over the nation. Most pundits concur that whether or not  JFK's death was a conspiracy will never be known.  Historians have further determined that the death which martyred Kennedy prevents them from thoroughly assessing his legacy.  Everyone also agrees that  President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a catalyst for change both in life and in death  and when he was shot down,  a little bit of America's  invulnerability died with him.                                                                       

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