We observe that this recent Thanksgiving was also the fifty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
We observe that this recent Thanksgiving was also the fifty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. pictured here in the early 1930s with his older brother and father. Mr. Kennedy was 46 at the time of his death.
For the vast majority of Americans over about 62 the assassination is an indelible memory.
Many who recall the assassination consider his death the beginning of very difficult times in the US.
Five years later JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy was killed.
The Kennedy brothers were shot by two modern archetypes although we didn’t realize it at the time. Lee Harvey Oswald was a leftist. Sirhan Sirhan was a Jordanian outraged at Robert Kennedy’s support of Israel. As such, although not a Muslim, Sirhan was a precursor to the Islamic terrorists of our time.
The popular culture of the 1960s missed all that and put the assassinations down to a “climate of hate.”
In some small part, that narrative was boosted by the events two days after JFK’s assassination when a Dallas low-life named Jack Ruby entered the police station where Oswald was being held and murdered Oswald silencing him forever.
The elite opinion setters of that time – from Jacqueline Kennedy through Chief Justice Earl Warren – turned a blind eye and blamed “hate” or right wing hate.
That version of American history has stuck.
When five years later Robert F. Kennedy, the president’s brother, was murdered by an Islamic terrorist named Sirhan Sirhan. Again, the murder was blamed on hate and insufficient public policies on gun control rather than recognizing the enemy.
John F. Kennedy’s murder raises a significant number of “what if” questions. The primary one from our perspective is: How would the Vietnam War turned out? Our answer: Mr. Kennedy could not have done worse than President Johnson.
John F. Kennedy’s death was, besides a time for national grief and mourning, also a catastrophe for his young family. But they went on. Mrs. Kennedy died in 1994 and history recognizes her as a good mother who shielded her young children from some of the troubles of life that destroyed some of their cousins. John F. Kennedy Jr. became publisher before dying in a tragic plane crash in 1999. Caroline Kennedy who turns 61 this month was our ambassador to Japan.
On the night that JFK died, President Johnson wrote Caroline Kennedy then almost 6: “Dearest Caroline – Your father’s death has been a great tragedy for the Nation, as well as for you at this time. He was a wise and devoted man. You can always be proud of what he did for his country.”
John F. Kennedy’s presidency was unfulfilled. Former President Harry Truman who was 79 at the time of the assassination was reported to be too upset to make a statement. According to his daughter, he was “deeply grieved by President Kennedy’s assassination. He felt that fate had cut him down before he had a chance to really master the intricacies of the presidency.”
We predict that one hundred years from now JFK will be remembered for his pledge that the US would put a human on the Moon within the decade of the 1960s, which we did, and for the assassination.