Editorial: 50 Years Since JFK’s Assassination
Friday marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most shocking and terrible events in United States history. At 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot while traveling in a presidential motorcade in Dealey Plaza of Dallas, Texas.
Looking back, few moments in history have frozen the country like Walter Cronkite’s announcement of Kennedy’s assassination. People will always remember where they were when they heard or saw the Space Shuttle “Challenger” disaster, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, or the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death.
Today, we know a little more about the surroundings of Kennedy’s death than we did weeks after it happened. Lee Harvey Oswald was identified as acting alone in the assassination, but he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby (who was also acting alone) before he could stand trial.
Several conspiracy theories have developed regarding the why and how the assassination took place, if Oswald was acting alone, or even if the bullet which killed Kennedy was not Oswald’s. More than 59 percent of those in a 2013 poll by the Associated Press believe that more than one person was involved in the assassination.
Kennedy’s death ushered in a different mindset for the visibility of famous figures towards the public. Security has beefed up immensely since 1963, with an ever-increasing wall being built between the pubic and its idols. Even the Pope travels in a bulletproof bubble on top of a car. Imagine if Presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush rode around in a convertible motorcade down Texas or California. The trusting of the public has certainly diminished.
The events of 2013 have cast an interesting reflection on the world as it was 50 years ago. Spying on the public, specifically by the National Security Agency, to weed out potential terrorists and assassins is arguably the hottest and most controversial political issue right now. Foreign policy, which Kennedy is connected to with Cuba and the Bay of Pigs, is a major concern regarding the scene in Syria and the Middle East. Even in sports, the Boston Red Sox, from Kennedy’s home state of Massachusetts, won the 2013 World Series.
Regardless of one’s political opinions, there can be no argument that John F. Kennedy was a great man and exceptional leader. The youngest president ever to be elected to office, Kennedy was a Purple Heart recipient (after pulling strings to get into the U.S. Navy), a masterful public speaker, and a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement. Kennedy was killed while he was just 46 years old, and much is left to ponder over what would have happened had he not been assassinated.
Let us take this time to reflect on the death of a true man of magnitude and what has changed since that fateful day in Dallas. Let us heed Kennedy’s words, and ask ourselves not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country.