Defining events leave indelible marks on every generation. Those impacted will always remember where they were and how they felt when they heard or saw the news.
Many Baby Boomers say the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was the defining event for their generation. Certainly, for me, that is the case.
I wasn’t feeling well that day. Instead of being at school when the news broke, I was home with my mom, dad and little brother watching when breaking news interrupted the soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Walter Cronkite, the respected, well known television anchor, made the announcement:
At 1:00 p.m. CST President Kennedy died in Dallas, Texas, from the gunshot wound he’d received earlier.
Cronkite chocked up as he continued to give a shocked nation additional information about the appalling event.
My dad’s eyes filled with tears. I’d never seen my dad cry. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me before that some news makes even strong men cry.
A little less than 56 years since that ill-fated day, these thoughts and many others flooded my memory when we visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in South Boston.
I hope you’ll appreciate this brief jaunt down memory lane.
Remnants of the tempestuous nor’easter that ravaged New England the night before remained. Those 40 mph winds were challenging. On our walk to the museum, I was much more concerned about staying upright than what was happening to my hair!
Much excitement marked the campaign for the young, attractive, articulate senator from Massachusetts. Like my dad, John Kennedy, had served bravely during World War II. His older brother, Joseph, lost his life in that brutal war.
A replica of President Kennedy’s Oval Office. Because of a wartime injury, the president suffered chronic back pain, which was helped by sitting in a rocking chair designed especially for him.
John Kennedy loved the sea. This sailboat, The Victura, was his favorite and is displayed on the lawn outside the Library. Notice those menacing clouds!
I thought of the words of the psalmist when I read this quote from President Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.
“Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is.
Help me to know how limited is my life
and that I’m only here but for a moment more.
What a brief time you’ve given me to live!
Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all!
Nothing more than a puff of air, I’m gone so swiftly.
So too are the grandest of men;
they are nothing but a fleeting shadow!”
Psalm 39:4 & 5 (TPT)
Lord, thank you for the United States. Thank you for every man and woman, including President John F. Kennedy, who has been willing to serve and sacrifice for our nation in so many ways.
Help us Lord, remember how brief are the days of our lives. Help us learn to love better our God, our neighbors, and ourselves. Thank you for faith, family, friends, freedom and the gift of each new day. ~ Amen
May this day be blessed for our nation, for you and for those you love…