For us baby boomers, November 22 has the same significance as December 7 does to our parents and September 11 to a succeeding generation. It was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I have reached an age where a lot I have lived through is now in the history books so I thought I would provide some perspective.
The transition from the Eisenhowers to the Kennedys was unprecedented. The outgoing couple were 70 and 64. The new First Couple were 43 and 31. A pair of cute young children added to the allure. Their tastes were cosmopolitan. The hiring of a French chef launched a national craze. There was a sense of vitality the country hadn’t seen since Theodore Roosevelt. At the time we had no idea of his sexual adventures and questionable health.
I was in junior high (that’s what we called middle school). We were on our way to see a dress rehearsal of Our Town the high school was putting on. A high school kid shouted out that he had been shot. After the play was over, we learned he was dead.
I can’t describe the shock the nation felt. It seemed inconceivable that a misfit like Lee Harvey Oswald had taken the life of a beloved leader. When he was killed two days later, the conspiracy theories began. I have seen no evidence that anyone else was involved.
The country lost its innocence that day. The next eleven years saw war, assignation, violence and the downfall of two presidents.
I will be back to my usual ranting and raving next time.