The end of innocence: The assassination of JFK

image: popmatters.com

I wasn’t alive when JFK was assassinated, but that fact didn’t prevent me from feeling the void he created in the world’s conscience. As the child of immigrants, the knowledge I have of my country, and it’s history, have come to me from school and the media, rather than directly from my parents.  The Kennedy family, however, is the exception to this rule. 

The glamorous magic that was the Camelot of the Kennedys, transcended my Mother’s lack of interest in politics.  I think that, to her as a newly arrived immigrant, they represented the boundless opportunities of her chosen country.  During a time of uncertainty, with the threat of nuclear war a constant shadow, it seemed that the first family, with their youthful beauty, provided hope for what was to come.

On that day in Dallas, our country lost that hope.  The promise of his administration was extinguished and a dark cloud seemed to take permanent residence over all of his surviving family members, both immediate and extended.  I was born nearly three years after his death and I’ve always perceived the Kennedys to be our own American version of a Greek tragedy.

I haven’t spent much time researching the assassination and the conspiracy theories which have tenaciously survived (and grown) for these past fifty years.  I wonder if we collectively want to subscribe to the belief that Oswald couldn’t possibly have been working alone because we don’t want to believe that any single person could change the course of history singlehandedly, at least not in such a devastatingly dark way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

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