‘There will be great presidents again,’ she said, ‘but there will never be another Camelot…it will never be that way again.’ – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy
JFK – How His Assassination Changed America – John F Kennedy Pictures, Marilyn Monroe, JFK Store
Time magazine’s cover story is titled “The Moment That Changed America,” and it features some newly discovered color pictures of the Kennedys riding through Dallas before the fatal shots rang out. Reporter David Von Drehle writes the piece, calling the tragedy on Nov. 22, 1963 “shocking beyond almost anything else in American history.” I would say that the moment’s resulting aftermath was even worse – how it dramatically changed, or contributed heavily, to the largely rudderless, schizophrenic society that followed in it’s wake. KENNEDY 50th Year Anniversary
November 22 Marks the Fiftieth Year since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. We’ve already seen perhaps a half dozen new TV movies, videos / documentaries – and we’ve already seen a number of books come out such as Bill O’reilly’s best selling ‘Killing Kennedy’ , made into a TV movie, currently being shown on Natonal Geographic channel. Considering the significance of the life-altering even, we might have even expected more media – and more reaction to it.
I remember as a grade school kid in 1962 my mother taking me to see President Kennedy at University of California, Berkeley, for the charter day address. I didn’t really appreciate at the time the President’s message or the magnitude of his presence there. All I knew is that there were 88,000 presidential admirers packing the UC Stadium , taking time off on a week day to be there to hear and see the 35th President of United States. Can you imagine that many people showing up today for our current president or any other modern president since Kennedy, for that matter?
UC. BERKELEY Charter Day Address, March 23, 1962 It was rather eerie but interesting – thanks TO modern technology – to be able to listen to this Kennedy Charter Day Address 50 years lat er, from March 23, 1962 , and really understand it for the first time. Here’s to you Mom, for bringing me to this historic date.
I think having seen President Kennedy in person made it even harder for this boy to fathom when we lost President Kennedy one and a half years later, on November 22, 1963. Presidents weren’t supposed to die in office. I remember not being able to finish my school lunch of macaroni and cheese after the news spread around school that Kennedy was killed. My life – perhaps all of our lives – changed on that day with that single moment in time when Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy. I could literally feel and see things change around me during the next months and years after Kennedy. Some have called it the ‘end of innocence.’ I guess you could say that. The optimistic, happier times seemed to darken as society took on an discordant , contentious and sometimes violent tone, which has hardly let up ever since.
One cannot say for sure whether society would have changed anyway had Kennedy lived. But, President Kennedy brought with him an optimism and excitement that we haven’t seen since. They say the music died in 1959 with the plane crash involving talented, young Buddy Holly, one of the first and one of the best who wrote and sang very moving, melodic music. One might say that everything else went down on November 22, 1963 when Kennedy died. Since then, despite major efforts, legislation and billions of dollars trying to correct social iniquities and other problems in society, things seem to have only gotten worse. Time does not always heal and, sadly, we have not healed since the death of Kennedy, in our opinion.
One can note the changes in society reflected in our media, music, movies , etc., which have taken on a significantly edgier tone since Kennedy. The crime rate has more than doubled. Today we are a less educated and more violent society than when Kennedy lived. One would think that 50 years time would be time enough to correct most of those underlying social problems in society that may have been simmering when Kennedy lived , yet things have only gotten worse rather than better with no foreseeable hope on the horizon. Throw all the taxpayer money you want at problems today – it’s not going to bring us back to the hopeful and optimistic days First Lady Jackie Kennedy originally dubbed ‘Camelot’ of the early 60s , a time when pe ople still left their doors unlocked, children played in the streets and life was much simpler and happier.
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Interestingly, outside of the South, even the races seemed to get along better in the early 60s than they do today, despite all the new found ‘understanding’ and social programs developed in the past 50 years. Bussing, welfare, food stamps… Nothing seems to have helped; if anything, they’ve made things worse. We’ve seen flashes of a return to the Kennedy style during the presidencies of Clinton and Reagan but those times were fleeting, without the same overall impact. All of our technological, medical and so-called educational advances have not helped to right the ship. No, Kennedy was not a perfect man or president, by any means, but he instilled fundamental christian values, if you will – basic, common sense, brotherly, core golden rules that brought us together during the postwar era and have since seemed to go astray.
Despite what many considered a handicap in being Catholic, Kennedy was able to unite religions and races, unlike any leader since his time. Can simply having the right president in office right all society’s wrongs? Of course not, but it can go a long way. Without opening up Fort Knox, Kennedy remained a friend to all races, colors and creeds. Even without finalizing any major social legislation , Kennedy was able to instill in the masses a sense of hope and success. During his presidency unemployment was lower than it is today and there wasn’t the need or ‘benefit’ of millions of dollars in unemployment / aid. Outside of the South, ask minorities who lived during the Kennedy era about race relations and they’ll likely tell you that things were better then.
WILDWOOD DAYS, sung by Bobby Rydell , is said to have been ‘the song’ that ushered out the Kennedy Era. (Dr Demento and others ) Rydell’s Cameo Parkway label spawned and capitalized on the dance craze of Kennedy era America It was a big hit at the time with upbeat lyrics and music reflecting the feel-good Kennedy Years. Celebrating the fabled amusement park in New Jersey, as WILDWOOD DAYS began fading from the music charts,so came the disintegration of Camelot – the JFK era of hope and optimism.
President Kennedy was a warm, highly intelligent man of good humor. He was one who did make a real difference. Yes, one man can direct a nation and Kennedy did that better than anyone since. Politics didn’t matter -when both democrats as well as republicans respected the President The likes of a man of the stature of Kennedy have been sorely missed ever since we lost him on that fateful day , November, 22, 1963. I remember it well. One man’s memories and thoughts.
In conclusion, it seems that much or most of the media coverage of President Kennedy’s 5oth anniversary has focused on the ‘morbid curiosity’ and controvery surrounding Kennedy’s death rather than looking at the man and his contributions – or even his mistakes.
Kennedy only served three short years with no major legislation, yet he managed to keep us out of war, specifically the Cuban Missle Crisis -which may go down as his crowning single achievement , watched over a strong economy and was a popular president with ALL the races. He was a strong proponent of NASA and space exploration, which contributed to the optimism and hope he brought to the Presidency, and it’s those latter ‘intangibles’ including his charisma that may be Kennedy’s greatest calling . He oversaw an era of prosperity, quality cultural material and ‘happy days,’ which quickly vanished with Kennedy’s passing. Had he lived we would have likely seen some REAL tangibles like the civil rights legislation that President Johnson passed iin his stead ; it would have been interesting to see Kennedy’s perhaps modified approach to that . A lot of ‘what if’s and we could go on all day discussing them. (There are some good books and video out such as ‘If Kennedy Lived’ by Jeff Greenfield that go into this more. )
Most people today were not alive when Kennedy was assasinated and don’t know that much about him.Hopefully, this anniversary will bring out the legacy of Kennedy a little more.
We’ve learned a lot , too, about our 35th and , perhaps, one of the truly great Presidents.
We all know his famous
‘My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
In another TV documentary Kennedy spoke about the importance to take on challenges ‘not because they are easy but because they are hard.’
‘Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.’
‘Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.’
‘Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.’
‘As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.’
‘A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.’
‘Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.’
‘Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.’
‘The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.’
MORE MEMORIES – See more at: http://wwwyellowpagescouponsnet.blogspot.com/2013/11/kennedy-assassination-i-was-there-and.html#.Uo8ar9LksyR