Friday, November 22, 2013
The hallmark of a seminal moment is if you can tell people where you were and what you were doing when the event happened. I can't tell you were I was or what I was doing on November 22, 1963...but it was a life defining moment for me.
My first recollection of the event was sitting on the floor next to my father's feet and watching the funeral procession on TV. I was two weeks shy of 5 years old. Even at that age..the memory is burned in my brain and it is one of the most vivid memories of my young childhood. I believe that that is the moment that my fascination with JFK began.
I always wanted to read every book I could find about him and the events leading up to that day. In high school I wrote a term paper about the assassination and all the conspiracy theories. That was 1976 and the theories were flying fast a furious at that time. I really truly believed that there had to be more than one gunman.
Over the years as more information has come to light, I'm leaning more towards the lone gunman theory. The sad part is...we will never know and so there will always be speculation.
I am still fascinated by the Kennedy family and their place in history. One of the most emotional days of my life was the day I first visited Arlington National Cemetery and was able to view Kennedy's grave and the eternal flame. It was 1987 and so I wasn't that far removed from those days in the late '70's. I most recently visited the grave in 2009 and while not as emotional, and viewed with a new and more mature perspective, it was still very moving. And the same thought occurred on both occasions...what if? The big question that always hangs in the air whenever you think about Jack or Bobby or John Jr. 50 years have passed and we still ask what if?
Today I will offer up a prayer for our 35th president and his family. Today I will not ponder what if...I will only be thankful for the life of a man who was dedicated to public service and for the ways in which he was able to positively affect the country and people he served.