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 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.
Yes, it's been 50 years since President Kennedy's assassination, but let's remember him for his ability to inspire all Americans to boldly risk the imagine to become reality, instead of all the conspiracy theories.
For those of us powerfully motivated toward public service by the Kennedy challenge to our idealism, one not heard since then, we choose to believe that he had the potential to become that rare political leader beyond politics, certainly beyond partisanship.
The truth has become buried in a quagmire of junk science and as a result, the underlying principles of this country, truth, justice and liberty for all, have been lost. Much more than John F. Kennedy died in November 1963; in many ways our nation died with him.
Given its epic flaws and omissions, it's little wonder that the Warren Report, which the Commission presented to President Johnson with great fanfare on September 28, 1964, has been over the years widely condemned as a monumental government fraud.
A cover-up to avoid culpability for missing signs of an impending assassination, or having worked with the assassin in some undercover capacity prior to November 22, is very different from the institutional orchestration of the murder of a U.S. president.
Kennedy's final days paint a picture of a man who craved excitement. Perhaps because two of his siblings, Joe and Kathleen, had died young and the president himself had repeatedly faced death, JFK seemed unusually conscious that his time on earth was fleeting.
Now comes Barbara A. Perry with Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch, who promises to deliver "the definitive biography" of the woman whose iron-fisted image-making produced the mystique that continues to endure.
When will Americans, we of middle age, especially, move on? In the absence of new witnesses or of other fresh and vital information, might it make sense to stop our chattering and to open files on the other parts of our lives?
As I watch the new PBS series, "Makers: The Women Who Make America," which kicked off Feb. 26th, I am reminded of my encounter with one of those makers, Gloria Steinem, in the election battleground state of Ohio last fall.