Neil (nt) wrote,
Neil
nt

Forty years ago today, I sat in my school cafeteria, watching in shock as the news of the shooting of John F. Kennedy played on the black & white television. There have since been events that have been more unsettling to me, both in my personal life and in the world at large, but that was the first time that I felt the world coming unmoored. In class later, kids asked the teacher whether this would lead to nuclear war. That seemed a realistic concern in those days.

History may or may not judge JFK to have been a great president. Certainly he was far from a saint in his personal life. But at the time, his presidency gave a real feeling of hope and optimism, and not only to Americans. That optimism, it seems to me, was snuffed out and replaced by the cynicism and partisanship that prevail today. But perhaps those things have always been with us, and it was just my twelve-year-old naiveté that was shattered.
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