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Posts Tagged ‘John F Kennedy’

JFKI’m sure you’ve seen the coverage regarding the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, our 35th president of the United States.  It must seem like ancient history to many people who weren’t even born then, but to some of us it seems like yesterday.

As I watch the programs regarding JFK’s presidency, his life  and assassination, I am transported back to the 12 year old I was when it all occurred.  I was a seventh grade student at Goodwin Junior High (later renamed Kennedy Junior High) in Redwood City, CA. I was a student aide in the library when an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the president had been mortally wounded in Dallas, Texas.  Those of us in the library were confused. Mortally wounded, what did that mean?  When we found out that it meant that the president had been killed, we were all stunned.  How could this happen to such a vibrant, charismatic man?  Many teachers were visibly upset and crying. The school decided to dismiss us early that day and we headed home to our families and our TVs.

I clearly remember the next few days as we were glued to the TV watching events unfold. The capture of Lee Harvey Oswald,  him being shot by Jack  Ruby live on TV, the funeral of JFK, the riderless horse with the boots backwards, the grace of Jacqueline Kennedy, John-John’s salute as the military went by, the terrible sadness of it all.  It was the first time in my young life that I had been confronted  with such shocking events, and it made an impression on me. Those few days are something I will never forget.  It was a time that the nation came together as one to grieve, just like we did after September 11.

President Kennedy was an admirer of Robert Frost, and when he was running for president often quoted the last few lines of Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”.   I have always loved that poem, one I associate with a time of promise, which was lost in an instant of madness.  In closing, I would like to share that poem with you:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

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