Friday, November 22, 2013
50 Years Gone
I remember it like yesterday... even though I was a toddler watching soaps while my mom napped, sitting on the training pot. Walter Cronkite's baritone made the announcement. And I didn't TRULY comprehend what it meant, except that someone important was dead. But I learned.
I grew up in a catholic Democrat family. My sister had a portrait of Jack and Bobby on her bedroom wall. I leafed through The Torch Is Passed many times. We had a set of Colliers' yearbooks to go with our encyclopedia, and I read and re-read Jack's career as president in its day-by-day format.
Years passed, and I learned about his past, his family, his service. Though in many households such as ours he attained almost a saint status (before you think that's silly, I remind you of the National Enquirers' campaign of sorts to get Grace Kelly named a saint after her death), I got to know him as he was- an imperfect man. Like the rest of us, only richer. And braver.
He reminds me of Ronald Reagan in many ways. Beyond their similar policies, they brought a similar love for the people they served. They brought a similar hope for their nation. They had a shared, deep, and abiding hatred for the grey walls of communism- and not so surprising that one stood before the grey monolith of the Berlin Wall and said, "I am a Berliner", and the other stood side by side with young people sick of the grey and shouted, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Their world was a world with all the colors of freedom and opportunity- a rainbow over the promise of a new world- a Camelot. And those who love the grey walls hated them both, and one of them died because of it. And with Jack's death, and Bobby's soon later, the grey walls won for a time.
Years later, Reagan tore down the grey walls again... but it seems that there were even more of those who love the grey walls in his day than in Jack's. It took two deaths to end Jack's dream... only one retirement to end Reagan's.
A lot of people take the opportunity the anniversary gives to go over all the conspiracies tied to JFK's assassination, and that's okay. It needs to be discussed even now, so that the lovers of the grey walls know that there yet live men who won't submit to the grey. But for me, the whole thing is moot. When I think of who shot Jack Kennedy, who shot Bobby, MLK, or Lincoln, I have only one thought about them.
YOU MAKE ME SICK. I hope that your eternal fate includes the grey walls you loved so much.
And on the hill, four men who will yet say, "I forgive you. You didn't know what you were doing."