Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Fascination with The Kennedys

50 years since Camelot

The Official Presidential Portrait
by Aaron Shikler
      For anyone living 50 years ago, I think most of us would agree that November 22, 1963 changed the world we lived in.  So much has been written that I would be self-asserting to
think that I could add anything to what took place on that day and those that followed.  

Walter Cronkite Makes
the Announcement to the Nation
      My personal memory was that of the school principal coming into our classroom and whispering something to our teacher. He then announced that President Kennedy had been killed as his voice quivered.  It was a lot for us young sixth graders to take in.  After all, we had already been through the Cuban Missile Crisis, and living within a mile of an Air Force Base the reality of that had been all too audio and visual.  Scary times they were.

The Kennedy Family at the Funeral
      We were dismissed from school a little early that day.  I walked to choir practice at our church, but it had been cancelled.  For the next four days, we stayed in front of our black & white TV sets to witness what I would term the first CNN type broadcast crossed with reality TV.  It was captivating at the time.  We all know the history of it now, but it was actually happening then. 

November 2013 Cover

      Much has focused on Jackie's composure that held the nation together.  For my family, the similarities between my sister's life and hers (although they definitely were not close in class status), were uncanny.  When my great niece wrote a college paper on the subject, my sister said it was Jackie's actions that got her through her own agonies.  It was little over a year later that her husband would be killed in an auto accident leaving her a widow with four children under the age of five.  Our bond with the Kennedy mystique continues to this day.

Caroline's 5th Birthday*
      Eric wondered this week, as we were watching CBS Sunday Morning's Kennedy tribute, if we would still be infatuated with the assassination if Nixon had won the 1960 election and had been the one killed.  No one can truly answer that, but I doubt that he would have created Camelot for our nation.  It was all too real and too short for those of us that lived during that time.  The country's knight in shining armor had left the round table.

*Photo from the JFK Library and Museum

1 comment:

Bea said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. Jumping trains to RFK, I happened upon the Ethel Kennedy doc made by her youngest child, Rory, the other week here on a German television station. I hadn't ever really thought that much about Robert Kennedy beyond knowing a few details about his career and untimely end. What I hadn't known was that Ethel was left to raise eleven children in her husband's absence. Obviously, she must have had tremendous help, but I still marvel at her ability to have raised so many children and have been involved in so many charitable organizations since the late 60s. Wow.