The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Friday, November 22, 2013

50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination, A Remembrance

I was four when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. The event became modern history to me in school. Seeing the scenes of grieving people, hearing folks tell the stories of where they'd been when the awful event occurred, I was left wondering exactly what that had felt like.

I had dim memories of Robert Kennedy's assassination on June 6, 1968. I was not politically aware at 9, but I remember people gathering in the circle where we lived, upset, talking to one another ... but not entirely sure who had been killed or what his significance was. I wish I could say this event, and the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had a greater impact on me and helped mold my life ... but I was still too young.

Years later, I had my "so that's what the Kennedy assassination felt like" moment. My father was a science news journalist who covered the manned spaceflight program from the Mercury program on through the Space Shuttles and I have a deep fascination for that program myself, along with the robotic explorations NASA undertakes. So, I remember exactly where I was on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded so soon after launch and how I shouted "No, no, no!" first thing in the morning when I heard the news of Columbia breaking up over Texas on landing approach on February 1, 2003. For that second event, I vividly remember our young daughter giving me a big hug in empathy for the adult pain around her she didn't really understand ... a situation not all that different for her than my experience with Bobby Kennedy's assassination.

Then there was September 11, 2001, when terrorists turned passenger aircraft into guided missiles in New York, Washington, and failed in a Pennsylvania field, and seemingly endless war began. I think back now on these events and too many others. I remember feeling on so many of these events that human history has just taken a horrid lurch in the wrong direction. History has gone askew ... and wondering if it would ever right itself again. I asked myself then and I ask myself now as I remember, "What can I do to make a positive difference after these awful events? How can I help set at least my little corner of the world right again?"

Wishing you peace on this day of remembrance.

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