This Friday will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is one of those events which people are often asked ‘what were you doing when you first heard this news?’ Many still are not sure if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or if it was a conspiracy. The main question I continue to wrestle with is whether this country is better off today than on that fateful day in Dallas.
President Kennedy was the first Catholic elected as President. He campaigned for civil rights and implemented the Green Berets as a highly skilled fighting unit. His Peace Corps helped spread humanitarian efforts throughout the globe. He survived the embarrassing Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the following year, displayed courage and determination when Russia removed their missiles from that tiny country less than 100 miles from Florida. He championed America’s manned space program placing a challenge to place a man on the moon in that decade. Through that program has resulted in much of the technology we enjoy today.
Much of his private life has come to light through the years. His Presidency was one of putting this country into a new direction and was often compared to the fantasy land of King Arthur’s ‘Camelot.’
Upon reflecting upon his sudden death, I ponder what a second term would have looked like. We got mired in the Vietnam War. Would he have pulled us out earlier?
This country survived two other assassinations in the 60s but I wonder if we have the tenacity or the will today to meet the challenges. There continues to be a dark cloud hovering over Washington D.C. today, diminishing my view of the future. Would our leaders be both decisive and unified in answering the challenges. They did briefly in 2001 when our nation came under attack by terrorism. Today, would the cynicism and bickering continue and cloud our resolve.?
America, is there a leader out there who will evoke the passion and regain a vision for how great this country can be?
By Bob Simmons