Editorial: Kennedy helped America feel good
Fifty years ago today, west central Minnesota and the world were shocked by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
This day was the turning point from the post-World War II world into the turbulence of the 1960s. Two more assassinations would occur in 1968: Martin Luther King and the president’s brother, Robert Kennedy. America’s innocence was shattered, much as it had been nearly 100 years previously with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
This tragic day in Dallas helped immortalize Kennedy, who had developed a connection with the American people. He was a World War II hero, a Pulitzer author, a member of Congress, a father and a husband.
Kennedy certainly was not a perfect man or president. He had his own personal faults. He had not been an early supporter of the Civil Rights movement. He approved the botched Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
Yet he was visionary and strong at the right times. He understood the impact of television, which helped him in a narrow win in 1960. He helped protect America and still avoided a nuclear war during both the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He took decisive stands in support of Civil Rights. He had the vision of the American space program, that eventually landed a man on the moon. And he believed in service, which led to the Peace Corps.
The hope of Kennedy burns on in eternal flame at his grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington. His greatest legacy is what he taught this nation: believe in service, dream big, work together, fight evil when necessary, seek new frontiers and believe in hope.
Like President Ronald Reagan, President Kennedy had that innate ability to make Americans feel good about themselves. And America remembers.