Tuesday, November 22, 2016

In Memory of John F.Kennedy, 35th President of the United States





"So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake."
~John F. Kennedy


Yes, I know that I already posted a blog on the whole Kennedy assassination, which today marks the 50th anniversary of.

I have been watching some videos about Kennedy on Youtube, as well as the documentary that was aired about him recently on PBS. It all reminded me of my own youth. Tat may sound strange, but even though I was born more than a decade after he was killed, he seemed to have made a strong and lasting impression on the nation in general, and it almost felt a bit like there was still a lingering presence, something that, by all rights, should have continued, but did not.

One of the videos that I watched (unfortunately, I cannot right now remember which one, precisely) termed those three or so years that he was in office as a time of political enchantment, and that sounds about right.

My grandparents had man reminders of the past. They had Howdy Doody dolls, and there were other things as well. Old magazines dating back decades. Old pictures, of course. And quite a few old books. One of those books was "The Thousand Days: John Fitzgerald Kennedy as President". It was a relatively glossy (it had lost a bit of this glossiness over the years) hardcover book from 1964, the year after Kennedy was assassinated. I leafed through it time and again, and imagined what it would be like to have such a young and idealistic leader, one who could deliver such amazing words. The pictures (it was in large part a book of illustrations) showed a seemingly young and healthy, robust man with a lot of energy. Only a few pictures betrayed this image, such as the ones that showed his back problems. Yet, even these were meant to illustrated the character of the man, to show that he was wiling to hide how own, personal discomfort, in order to represent that more positive image, almost like a personal sacrifice.

That book was my closest glimpse of the Kennedy years, and what they might have been like. I still have it somewhere, and admittedly still enjoy leafing through it, although it is beginning to show it's age, as the binding is now going, and I had to tape it up, so it looks even more beat up than it probably should be.

Kennedy represented an ideal. he was the physical embodiment of a spirit of youth, of activism and idealism, in an age when the United States was still very much enjoying it's golden age. It was truly beyond dispute that the United States was the leading superpower of the world at the time, far and away ahead of the Soviet Union in almost every conceivable way, with the one exception being perhaps the space race. And Kennedy pushed forward to make sure that the United States would win the space race, as well, by articulating the goal of getting a man to the moon within the decade. He did not live to see it, but those words would indeed bear fruit, and within the decade, just like he said.

Kennedy started the Peace Corps. Again, he inspired the youth of a nation, and allowed them to dream of a better world, and even to act towards turning that dream into reality. I will not get into the negatives hear, perhaps the harsher realities that have since come to light - that will be for another blog entry. For now, I want to focus on how Kennedy inspired, and represented, or seemed to represent, the very best that the country had to offer. Indeed, how could young people not be stirred, when he famously borrowed the words of Kahlil Gibran in his Inaugural Address:

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

Can you imagine a modern President, or even prominent politician, saying words like these down below, or perhaps even, dare I suggest, meaning it?

"When we got into office, the one thing that surprised me most was to find that things were just as bad as we'd been saying they were."
~John F. Kennedy


"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
~John F. Kennedy


"If by a ‘Liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a ‘Liberal.’"
~John F. Kennedy



Here are words that seem more true today than when Kennedy first uttered them:

"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
~John F. Kennedy

"Sometimes party loyalty asks too much"
~John F. Kennedy


He could laugh at himself, too.

"I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy - "Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.""


"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it - and the glow from that fire can truly light the world"


"All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."
~John F. Kennedy


"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."
~John F. Kennedy


"We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now."
~John F. Kennedy


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


"Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."
~John F. Kennedy


"When written in Chinese, the word "crisis" is composed of two characters-one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."
~John F. Kennedy


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


"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
~John F. Kennedy


"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."
~John F. Kennedy


"Without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men...have lived. The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy."
~John F. Kennedy


"Let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate."
~John F. Kennedy


Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
~John F. Kennedy


"The freedom of the city is not negotiable. We cannot negotiate with those who say, "What's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable.""
~John F. Kennedy


"Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation."
~John F. Kennedy


"If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all — except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty."
~John F. Kennedy


"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth."
~John F. Kennedy


"The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress."
~John F. Kennedy


"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
~John F. Kennedy


"A revolution is coming - a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough - but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability."
~John F. Kennedy


"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."
~John F. Kennedy


Lead like John F. Kennedy BY LARRY J. SABATO November 20 at 11:07 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/11/20/lead-like-john-f-kennedy/?wprss=rss_business&clsrd



Obama honors President John F. Kennedy complete coverage)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/obama-honors-president-john-f-kennedy-complete-coverage/2013/11/20/f6bd8c18-5201-11e3-9fe0-fd2ca728e67c_story.html?wprss=rss_national




Obama pays tribute to John F. Kennedy legacy Associated Press By DARLENE SUPERVILLE 3 hours ago
http://news.yahoo.com/obama-pays-tribute-john-f-kennedy-legacy-213821490--politics.html



JFK anniversary: Barack Obama pays tribute to the legacy of John F Kennedy

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/johnfkennedy/10464226/JFK-anniversary-Barack-Obama-pays-tribute-to-the-legacy-of-John-F-Kennedy.html

Below is at least some of what President Obama had to say in honoring the slain President Kennedy:

"This is a legacy of a man who could have retreated to a life of luxury and ease but who chose to live a life in the arena, sailing sometimes against the wind, sometimes with it."

"That's why 50 years later John F Kennedy stands for posterity as he did in life: young, bold and daring.



"He stays with us in our imagination not because he left us too soon but because he embodied the character of the people that he led – resilient, resolute, fearless and fun loving, defiant in the face of impossible odds and most of all determined to make the world anew, not settling for what is but rather for what might be."

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