Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Ask anyone over the age of sixty where they were fifty three years ago when Kennedy was shot and you're in for an hours worth of stories.
I was at sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. Some sailor said that he had just heard the the president was shot. I thought, but I don't actually remember weather I said it or not, that's stupid. How in the world could POTUS, the president of the USA, get shot. Who in the world could pull that off. 
A few minutes later, the captain announced on the 1MC that the president not only was shot, he was also dead. This news was just unbelievable. There must a mistake or maybe it is a cruel joke. 
Back then, even on an aircraft carrier there was no live TV. We had closed circuit TV but nothing else. It was about a week before we came back into port. JFK was dead, Lee Oswald was dead and Jack Ruby was in a Texas jail. My wife was in utter shock and I wasn't there to hug her and hold her tight. She had seen most everything over and over on the TV and couldn't comprehend how far out of the loop we sailors at sea were. We, the Navy, flew the American Flag at half mast for thirty days and watched JFK's funeral.
Kennedy was our instrument of change. I don't remember Franklin Roosevelt at all. I was three years old when he died. I remember Truman somewhat, but who I really remember is Eisenhower. Ike was like your grandfather. He was well liked but in my mind, he was dull.
In 1960, the year I graduated from high school. The year I went in the Navy was the year JFK was elected. He looked much younger than Ike, which he was and he had a gorgeous wife Jackie. This was the big change. The beginning of the swinging sixties and the beginning of  Vietnam. 
In spite of this, JFK wasn't particularly popular. I've told my kids that the best thing that ever happened to him was Oswald. Now he is a hero. The symbol of what could have been. But no, he never had the chance.
Well that's my rant for today.

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