The heartbeat of the United States skipped a beat on Nov. 22, 1963 when our 35th President John F. Kennedy at age 46 was assassinated on the streets of Dallas, Texas.
It has been 50 years and that heartbeat of our nation has never been the same. We lost not only a sense of youth on that day, but also a sense of innocence.
Many of our nation’s populous was not around 50 years ago but those of us who were have tried to keep the memory of a popular world leader alive.
Even every president since, and there have been nine of them, have tried to capture some of that charisma presented by President Kennedy, by his young wife and by their two children.
The 50th anniversary of the assassination is not a celebration. It is a remembrance of memories we have of President Kennedy and of the events surrounding the assassination.
In the past few weeks, we have read about Kennedy’s administration and his assassination through books, magazines, newspapers and social media.
Because of the beginning of Kennedy’s Technicolor presidency, we have been able to recall our memories very easily.
Those of us who remember the four days beginning on Nov. 22, 1963, recall where we were and what we were doing.
Our younger generation of course remembers where and what as it relates to 9/11.
President Kennedy only served a thousand days and his administration suffered some early defeats including the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.
His administration received some honorable grades as it dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1963 and as it handled civil unrest in the southern United States.
On Aug. 5, 1963 during Kennedy’s presidency after more than eight years of difficult negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
President Lyndon Johnson also spiked President Kennedy’s achievements by pushing through key civil rights legislation in 1964.
We were robbed of our future when an itinerant loner and loser, Lee Harvey Oswald, took the life of our president.
The alleged assassin was also shot and killed by someone who could fit Oswald’s psychological makeup.
Questions remain about Kennedy’s death and fingers point to conspiracy with more than 60 percent of the population believing Oswald did not act alone.
Many conspiracy theories exist but none have produced convincing evidence.
The spirit of John F. Kennedy still lives but our country has not been the same.
We have a country that is still seeking a way to live and laugh together.
Editor’s note: Howard Lestrud is ECM Publishers’ Political Editor.