Today is the 52nd anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. At the time, I was fifteen-years-old and was living at Ft. Shafter army base in Honolulu, Hawaii. Months before he was murdered, President Kennedy had visited Hawaii and I had gone to the parade. I have treasured this picture ever since then.
Prior to moving to Hawaii, I had lived at White Sands Missile Range army base in New Mexico. As the result of President Kennedy’s fitness challenge, the high school students from the base walked the 27 miles to Las Cruces.
I was too young to participate in that walk but I was definitely inspired by it and hoped to do something like it in the future. I was also excited when President Kennedy started the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). I was so proud to be an American.
His death in 1963, followed in 1968 by the deaths of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, was quite a blow to my idealism. As crushing as those memories are, I feel blessed to have been alive during that time. And all three of them will always serve as role models for me.
Note: This is not a photograph I took myself. I have no memory of how I obtained it since it wouldn’t have been available at the time of the parade. I suspect that I purchased it, or it was given to me, soon after the experience.