60 years ago today, President John F Kennedy was shot and killed as his Presidential limousine drove through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. That event marked the end of a short-lived time of idealism in America. John F Kennedy’s presidency painted a picture of aspiring optimism about America and its future that many aspired to. As he said in his inauguration address, “the torch has been passed to the new generation of Americans”. And Kennedy represented that new generation filled with renewed hope and selfless patriotism. He instructed his fellow Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
There was almost a regal quality to Kennedy’s presidency. It possessed an idyllic charm that many of our citizens admired and hoped to emulate. People had pride in America. Kennedy’s presidency has often been referred to as “Camelot” from King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. The round table was a telling metaphor about his political vision because a round table does not have a head. There’s no hierarchy. Everyone has equal standing. And that depicted the vision of Kennedy’s America, a more democratic view of power, where everybody has an equal voice, everybody has equal standing. But Kennedy’s death was the watershed moment that shattered that idyllic vision and ushered in the one of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history – the 1960’s.
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