I remember everything. Every piercing painful moment.

This should qualify as a perfect trifecta for Moe. It all comes together right here in a single number – an oldie, politics, and an anniversary. Plus Frank Sinatra. So why am I so sad?

16 responses to “I remember everything. Every piercing painful moment.

  1. I wasn’t alive 50 years ago, but I’ve always felt a connection to JFK. As a kid, it came from being a Catholic, but as I got older I realized that it probably really came from the fact that I was born on the anniversary of his assassination. Isn’t that a fun thing to realize? Ever since, I’ve been interested in finding out everything I can about that day.

    Today’s NY Daily News included the entire paper from the day after the assassination, and it is so cool (for lack of a better word) to read the reactions. My favorite is a quote from a black man, who said, “It was the first time I cried with white people.” (He was a cabbie, driving a white couple somewhere.) I can’t even imagine someone saying something like that today. I like that it shows that everyone came together in their grief.

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    • ScifiGirl – please forgive the delayed response . . . got overtaken by holidays. So the 22nd was your birthday – no wonder you’re fascinated by the events 50 years ago.

      As an aside – and another subject altogether – in my generation, almost no one believed the Warren Commission report saying that Oswald acted alone.People believe different things perhaps, but come together rejecting that Commission. My own belief is that it was indeed a ‘conspiracy’, one that came from within the US national security/military establishment. At the time, Kennedy had a vigorous back channel dialogue going with Kruschev (a lot of it through the Pope’s office); both men wanted an end to the Cold War and both feared nuclear war and were committed to stopping one. Our military hierarchy WANTED war. There are some books I can recommend if you’re interested.

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      • I would really appreciate the recommendations as I’ve had a problem with the one gunman thing too. It was all so neat and rarely is life neat.

        My mom told me that one of the theories was that LBJ was in on it because he wanted to be president more than he wanted to be VP. I think that’s interesting, but I don’t know if I believe that.

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        • SciFi – that LBJ thing was a popular theory. Oliver Stone played it up in his movie, JFK. As I said, I think he died because he wanted to end the Cold War. The last book I read about the assassination is a fairly new one. “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he died and why it matters” by James W. Douglass. That lays it out pretty well. I’d also urge anyone to read JFK’s speech at American University in June of 1963 in which he announced his plans to pursue peace – in some detail. Shortly after that, he started leaning again on the Joint Chiefs again to present a withdrawal plan for Vietnam. And then he was dead.

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  2. Because it’s a sad anniversary? I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.

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    • Yes, because the pain is still there. Maybe 9/11 comes close, but I don’t think so. JFK’s assassination also killed a large part of our national identity. We were so enthused about the future. But Vietnam killed that forever. We lost so much. This would be a different US if Kennedy had lived and Vietnam hadn’t happened as it did. He had ordered withdrawal plans from the Joint Chiefs a few months before 11/22. He never got them. Instead, he died and they got their war.

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      • Awwww, very melancholy to think about what might’ve been. 9/11 is the only moment like that which happened during my lifetime, so I remember it pretty intensely.

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        • It sounded like I was dismissing 9/11. Dear god, I wasn’t. It shocked me to my core – and then it made me alternately angry and afraid. With JFK, it was personal because it was a single person in whom millions had invested their hopes for the future. So what we did was weep at the loss of our own futures. And that endures still.

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          • Oh, I know you weren’t, Moe. I would not have expected you to dismiss it. What you were saying is that JFK’s death had a very different meaning than 9/11, and I get that, and regret the consequences of it myself even though I wasn’t there to experience it.

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  3. Moe, I was 3 and I remember that day as clearly as 9/11. It was my father’s 26th birthday and my mom promised to let me “help” bake his birthday cake. Being so young, I didn’t understand why my mom started crying when the cake was baking and almost burned it. That evening, when dinner was done, my mom put the cake on the table and lit the candles. My father could not blow them out because he was crying. My most vivid memory was watching the funeral on TV and seeing the “horse with the backwards boots”. No one would answer me when I asked the typical 3-year-old “Why?”. They were all crying… The senseless loss of a man who was trying to make our country better for all Americans is a sadness that will always creep into our minds from time to time. No matter his politics or purported human failings, he was a father, husband and vital young man whose life touched supporters and detractors alike. ~Katrina

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    • Katrina – gee, it’s lovely to see you here. Looks like SciFi girl (above) shares your Dad’s birthday. Thank you for the story of your memory.. That’s just how it was. IWe all had the wind knocked right out of us. I was living in my first apartment in NYC. We didn’t have a TV, so my roommate and I got on the train and headed to my parents’ house where we sat in front of TV for 3 days with the rest of the family. By the way, the train was full and utterly quiet. Not a sound.. Some sobs, but no talking.

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  4. It was not just America. Over the pond the impact of Kennedy’s assasination was almost as a physical blow. I was seven years old and clearly remember the live satilite feeds which took over the TV here as it did in America. I was allowed to sit up watching them coming in. Maybe my parents were too shocked to have me sent to bed at the usual time.

    I also remeber the astonishment of seeing Ruby shooting Oswald in the Police station. Even as a seven year old I knew this was more than just “Southern Incompetance”. As to the funeral Katrina remembers, I watched this with my mother and I also remember the boots reversed in the stirrups. Mother said they did the same for the Duke of Wellington in Britain in the mid nineteenth century. The coomander is gone his boots are turned back on themselves.

    Only long after was I aware that others did not share my parents sadness, that many indeed cheered his demise, and shouted their glee at the coverage of his death. These were Ameicans in the US, not foreigners. Kennedy divided his country far more than is allowed to be admitted even today fifty years on.

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    • David – one of things I’ll never forget is the world leaders marching down Pennsylvania Avenue behlnd the hearse. Standing erect and towering above the kings and prime ministers around him was Charles deGaulle. He was the very stuff of legend and there he was.

      We know now that there were those – especially in places like Dallas – who, as you say, cheered his demise. But in those days they were fringe, and as such were accorded no place in the vastly larger national dialogue, unlike today when their toxic words fill the radio airwaves and FOX TV and the rest of the echo chamber follows.

      Kennedy wasn’t perfect, but he mattered very much and we’d be a different country had he lived.

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  5. I never understood the grief over JFK’s extermination. i would have though that most normal people would have breathed a sigh of relief over his being removed as threat to America and the world at large.

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