Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Else Do I Have to Say?

The expression says if you wait at the bank of the river long enough, you will see the body of every enemy float past you. I'm reaching an age where that may be true, but I probably would no longer remember them and that's scary as well since those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it.

I mentioned to a young colleague yesterday that it was the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination to which, somewhat alarmed, he responded 'someone killed her?" Welcome to the Feast of Unshared Assumptions-the Holy Father hasn't quite gotten around to recognizing it yet, but it's on his list of projects after he closes that endorsement deal with Trojan.

Actually I'm making up part of the previous paragraph (HINT: not as much after the last conjunction as you'd hope). For people under the age of thirty (which my chum was), a valid question would be who is Lisa Kennedy Montgomery? No, she's not related to Jamie though the argument can be made she is about as annoying. (I love Tori Amos and when the interview concluded I wanted to whack someone with a mallet.)

But I digress-the larger question as someone who will not see fifty-eight again (though I have been known to celebrate the anniversary of that birthday) is when did the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy shift from memory to history? It depends on your age, of course, and how empathetic you are to doddering codgers like me who too often use the past to avoid the future.

His death was, for Baby Boomers, the first seance if you will, that we all experienced. Everyone to and through a certain age stayed home from school and watched three days of relentless black and white news reels as haggard reporters in their white shirts sat in airless studios attempting to come up with new ways to tell us the US President had been murdered. By the time we reached the on-camera live from coast to coast killing of the man who was accused of murdering the President, I don't think very many of us were left to do any critical thinking about anything for years afterwards.

A lot of things ended in the days following the murder of John Kennedy, but even more began, to include the world as most of us now know it (I didn't say it was a world many of us liked). The assassination lasted only a moment and took only one life but in the flash of the muzzle fire, everything was swept away and what we are now is heavily colored by what we were when. If you don't get given, you learn to take. And learn we have, and take we do.
-bill kenny

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