Friday, 22 November 2013
John Fitzgerald Kennedy: The Day Before and the Day After
I was just a child. I remember that I was playing in my sister's bedroom when my father arrived with the news: President Kennedy has died. In the Southern Hemisphere, in a small provincial capital in Uruguay, it was a summer day. Suddenly, joy was wiped out from our faces. I saw my father cry, my mother cry, and practically everybody around me was in tears and in a state of shock.
I will not engage in dealing with conspiracy theories talking about who did what and why. What matters to me is the impression I got as a child and that has been with me since then. A close member of my family had died on that day. From a state of optimism, the world around me had sunk into deep depression.
From President John Fitzgerald Kennedy I keep the words he uttered when he stated '"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". If the original words belonged to John Fitzgerald Kennedy or not is, yet again, absolutely irrelevant. What matters to me is that President Kennedy chose those words to transmit a very powerful message not just to the American people but to the entire World.
A very small child in a small provincial town in Uruguay, Latin America, thousand of miles away from the United States of America, has kept President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's words in his mind for more than half a century and is here today writing an article about President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Years later, the same child witnessed the landing on the Moon as it happened and once again remembered the fateful words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy announcing that America, one day, would send men to the Moon. The feeling was that when somebody asked the question "Can we make it?" the answer would be "Yes, we can make it if we work hard to achieve it."
Much has been written about President Kennedy ever since. What he did or didn't do as a private individual is for me, once again, absolutely irrelevant. What President Kennedy gave me the child living in a small provincial town in Uruguay was a spirit of optimism and the belief that there is hope. Lee Harvey Oswald or whoever they say killed President Kennedy couldn't possibly take away from me what I felt then and the spirit that leads me to write these words.
No human being is perfect. Nobody is without blemish of some kind. What matters is that John Fitzgerald Kennedy is on a league of his own. If anything, those behind his assassination made him immortal.