I met John Kennedy twice. He came to meet with the political science majors in 1958, and we spent an hour or so talking about the issues facing the nation. He was charming, handsome, funny, well-informed.
I hope, as we remember a young President, that we will renew our commitment to building with urgency and persistence a just America where every child is valued and enabled to achieve their God given potential regardless of the lottery of birth.
Since that day in New York City, I really haven't cared about who killed President Kennedy. Instead, I tend to think about what the Kennedy administration might've achieved had it been able to fully pursue its agenda.
As a young girl living through it, I never thought the day, marking 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, would ever come. So much was sealed, so much kept from the public at the time with a promise that way into the future, all would be made known.
Central to the Kennedy ideal is the idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good. In this day of political intransigence and not only inter-party, but also intra-party strife, blame seems to supplant earnest dialogue, and Kennedy's call appears long forgotten.
But in many ways President Kennedy changed my life, awakening in me an interest in politics and government; in the Athenian ideal of citizenship, on the duty of every person in a democracy to be engaged in service to others; that no one gets a pass.
As I write this, it is 50 years and two hours since I heard five bells ring on the UPI wire, turned around and discovered that John F. Kennedy had been shot.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death, yet just 10 days ago, Jeanne and I were celebrating with my cousin Caroline Kennedy as she was sworn in as Ambassador to Japan.
Senator Deeds, all hearts are on deck with you. The vibrant photo of Gus playing his banjo on the campaign trail with you will be forever etched in our minds. We honor him and we honor you. We stand with you.
Kennedy's call to action, from his first to his last day as president, was a constant call to citizenship - local, national, and global. It was a call to embrace the promise of American reinvention and renewal.
I was 5-years-old on Friday, November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Even we kids could perceive the paradigm shift that took place as a result of that horrendous event and recall the somber and mournful tone of the next few days.
Both presidents have a severe lack of accomplishments to show for their presidencies, a fierce opposition from the opposing party, and a myth machine that continues to heroize them.
Without a doubt, November 22 was a historical inflection point that happened in my back yard but I never asked so much as one question when the opportunity to do so was at hand with people very near to the actual event.
We'll never know how Kennedy's presidency would have progressed had the events in Dallas not denied him further opportunity to deliver on his promise.
Today's colleges must put the question posed by JFK in front of their students every day: What can you do for your country, for your community, for the world?
As I watch the footage of the grief-stricken people who lined the streets, I can't help but feel a nostalgia for that horrible time because it seems to me that it represents an America more unified than today.