All of us over a certain age remember where we were when President Kennedy was assassinated. Although only six, my memory of learning of his murder remains crisp and indelible. There are no apt words to capture the shock or measure the grief of an entire nation, or even of a single heart.
That we so intensely grieve the loss of a man killed 50 years ago speaks to a number of things: the horrific circumstances of his death, his blood-stained wife, his tiny children, his youth and the many things his murder left unfulfilled. The Sixties were a miserable time to grow up; the nation unraveled as all manner of evil, foreign and domestic, corroded our culture. Invariably, one wonders if the sudden, devastating death of a young president catalyzed a much more violent social unhinging than otherwise would have been.
We have come to learn that Kennedy was a serial, and not particularly discrete, adulterer. He took dangerous combinations of drugs to mask his Addison’s disease and other ailments. His perceived timidity with Nikita Kruschev at their 1961 meeting in Vienna helped precipitate the Cuban missile crisis.
He has been called “a liberal Cold Warrior.