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Friday, November 22, 2013

John F. Kennedy Today

As horribly gruesome as President Kennedy's assassination continues to be to watch, in fact, his legacy is one of optimism. America lost a symbol of all that's possible when President Kennedy was murdered, right before our eyes, in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. He was brutally gunned down, killed by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, whose motivation is still unknown. 

In spite of decades of stories written by historians, pundits and skeptics who attempt to recreate President Kennedy's administration, the fact is, his youthful optimism prevails today, but we must rekindle it's power.

Nevertheless, tragically, the horror of his death continues to reverberate as though the event were happening all over again, especially today, 50 years since the fateful day in Dallas Texas.

Yet, Kennedy's charisma transcends historic attempts to reinvent any facts about his short 3 year administration.

Americans might use this half century reminder of his assassination as a rallying point to return to the optimism Kennedy inspired.

Optimism is driven by people who are optimistic. President Kennedy, with his young and stunningly beautiful family, embodied the optimism of Americans born of immigrants.They believed in the American dream, a nation where the streets were paved with the promise of gold. Kennedy embodies that optimism.

This optimism was frozen in time when President Kennedy was murdered. Moreover, any attempt to revive the administration's Camelot dream, conceptualized by Jacqueline Kennedy, was walloped by a decade of unbelievable civil unrest. Subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were more surreal than doomsday prophesies.  

Obviously, it's impossible to know if President Kennedy's legendary "Camelot" would have continued, had he and his murdered colleagues had lived. 

What we know for sure is how Kennedy inspired people to believe in what was possible, including putting a man on the moon by the end of the '60's decade. Americans put men on the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was a challenge.We were inspired to achieve all that was and would be possible, because President Kennedy allowed us to believe we could be all we were inspired to be.

How does President Kennedy continue to inspire us a half century after his murder? He inspires us with words that matter. His quotes are so relevant and fresh, it's like they were written for us today. 

This some of what he said:

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

"A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on."

"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."

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."

"Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind."

"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Although John F. Kennedy will never again be with us, his words will never, ever, leave us. Perhaps his most memorable inauguration quote should be attached to every oath taken by our nation's political leaders. When they raise their right hand they should repeat:

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" help me God. 

And that's how John F. Kennedy will continue to inspire optimism and confidence for  our nation today and in the future. 

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