on the lingering promise of JFK's legacy
John F. Kennedy, the nation's 35th president, in an
image posted on the White House website. He was assassinated on Nov. 22,
1963, in Dallas, Texas. Photo: Contributed Photo
been an intriguing past two weeks leading up to Friday, the 50th
anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There have
been a remarkable number of informative and captivating television
programs and print articles looking at the event, ranging from the days
leading up to and following the assassination, to questioning whether or
not indeed the assassination was the work of more than one shooter. Topics
ranged from looking at the conspiracy theory from a forensics point of
view to a personal look into the life and marriage of Lee
and his Russian wife Marina.
was even a program that looked at the death of Kennedy at 1 p.m. Central
Time on Nov. 22, 1963, from the journalistic perspective of television
news broadcaster Walter
who was reluctant to announce the president's death until it was confirmed
by some authoritative figure, which turned out to be a priest who
administered the last rites of the Catholic
and relayed that information to a wire service reporter at Parkland
recent event in Washington, D.C., briefly took the spotlight away from the
president's assassination, but still shown on a Kennedy. Caroline Kennedy
Schlossberg , the late president's daughter, was sworn in as the U.S.
ambassador to Japan. She is a third generation Kennedy to become an
ambassador. Her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, was ambassador to Great
Britain from 1938-40, and her aunt, Jean
was ambassador to Ireland from 1993-98.
it wasn't the photograph of Caroline Kennedy being sworn by Secretary of
State John Kerry and witnessed by her husband Ed Schlossberg that created
a buzz. That was generated by the other male in the photograph, her
20-year-old son, John
Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg,
sophomore. Here we go again and for good reason. JFK's only grandson
appears to have the good looks, the smile, the thick head of hair, the
charm and the wit of his maternal grandfather.
so the legacy continues ...
young Schlossberg has pretty much been under the radar, except for a
letter to the editor in the New
two years ago, when he took issue with the Times' columnist Ross
who chided the American public for confusing JFK's charisma with
competence, his rhetoric with results, and his celebrity with genuine
achievement. Schlossberg refuted Douthat's remark by writing that his
grandfather's "legacy remains relevant today not because of Camelot
or conspiracy, but because Americans find inspiration and meaning
I watched the JFK commemorative programs these past two weeks, remembering
the assassination not only brought me back to that fateful day as I
recalled -- as millions do today -- where I was when I heard the news,
remembering that day stirred memories of a time in my life that held so
much promise for me and the nation at large.
I and so many of my friends did look to the Kennedys for inspiration and
for meaning. Whatever the politics of the day or the jarring events in the
world, we saw youth, exuberance and a joyfulness in the Kennedys and that
was how we wanted to pattern our own lives.
envied their glamour, their money, their lifestyle. As we became mothers,
we dreamed that maybe one of our daughters would marry a Kennedy. And when
John, Kennedy Jr.'s airplane went missing we held our breath and then we
cried when we learned that he, his wife and her sister had perished when
their airplane nosedived into the waters off Cape Cod. When we heard the
news, how many of us called our own adult sons, just to hear their voices.
make no apologies when I still get a thrill in meeting a Kennedy, even
though it may be the signing of one of their newly published books.
many remember that in 1957 JFK won a Pulitzer Prize for his book,
"Profiles In Courage?" The award prompted criticism that the
book, which profiles eight U.S. senators who performed with grace under
pressure, was actually written by his research assistant, Ted
my own memorabilia I have saved the past 50 years are 10 issues of Life
and Look magazines that have featured the Kennedys. Within the past 50
years, I have moved 15 times. It amazes me that these magazines have
managed to survive all these moves. Today, I keep them together along with
current magazines in a magazine rack near my computer. They bring me
comfort. They keep me close to another time in my life when there was so
much of life still ahead of me and so many possibilities before me.
flip through these magazine pages and I see so many of the Kennedys that
have passed and I think of my own family members who are gone, along with
so many career possibilities at the time.
as I go online and watch a short video of John Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg
-- so young, so handsome, so full of charm, with, life and possibilities
-- I think of my oldest grandson, seven years younger, and I see a young
man so handsome, smart and creative, who's full of life with possibilities
and I see the future, not the past and as young Schlossberg wrote to the
Times, I see inspiration and meaning.
Rita Papazian is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Copyright 2013 Rita Papazian All rights reserved.