Sometimes we think we know how things will turn out for us in our life and how our futures will pan out. Growing up we are always asked what we want to do and some of us know exactly what we want, some struggle with that even as they get older, while others sometimes has fate and destiny play a part in their futures. For John Kennedy, becoming President of the United States was not his first option, but it ended up becoming his destiny. This was a man who had become our first television president and one who would be embedded in the minds and hearts of millions of Americans for years to come. Sometimes destiny and fate have a way of leading us down a path that we sometimes don’t necessary want to follow, but we know deep down that this is where we need to be. That day in Dallas 56 years ago today may have ended the hope and dreams that Americans had for the country with JFK as its leader, but it has not ended what he still means to this country.
I speak of this day every year, and as my own life takes twists and turns I find myself back behind the computer this time of year reflecting of this man. I was born many years after his death, but through family members his memory was kept alive. I was a struggling 4th grader with no interest in school and reading until I was shown newspapers and articles about JFK. At that moment a spark went off that lead me to win reading awards and eventually took me down a path to get my master’s degree in History. It was not just about the assassination that sparked my interest in him, but it was also how so many people admired him and looked to him as a symbol of hope for this country. That’s the legacy of JFK and if one word could ever describe his presidency it would be, Hope.
If you have read any history books or at least somewhat paid attention in history class, you know about some of the details of what happened on this day. This is not a day to spread conspiracy theories or express your thoughts if there was one person that killed him, but instead it is a day to remember what was lost. Hope. I try to imagine what it would be like if JFK would have lived and what he would think of the world we live in today. We can’t change history but imagine JFK having to deal with what both political parties are going through now. This was a man who when he won the election, had a meeting with his political opponent in the week after the election to ensure the American public that we are unified as a country. This was the kind of President he would become and the kind of President that the country still looks for and wants in its candidates. It is highly unlikely that we will ever see another candidate that will possess those same attributes that he had and who connected with so many even though he came from great wealth.
On this day we remember what was lost, what could have been, and how it has shaped our country in the 56 years since it happened. As the years go on, many from that time in history are not with us anymore and it is up to us to carry on and remember history. We remember history the way it should be, which is objective and showing facts. The one fact that will always stand out for me is that JFK showed us how a leader should be and the hope that a leader can provide. No matter what your destiny becomes in your life you have a chance to lead others at times whether it is at work or at home and it is up to you to how you want to lead them. The famous quote from his Inaugural address says it all, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. That quote has so much meaning for so many people and it has inspired others from that time and it still inspires people today. You could replace the word country and also put, “family”, “work”, and “friends”, anything that implies to your life that could mean a difference. It’s about what you can do, and how you can control your own destiny and how others see you. That’s the inspiration that JFK left for us and what we will continue to carry on for many years to come.Embed from Getty Images