Editorial: A loss of innocence
Tomorrow is Friday, Nov. 22. Exactly fifty years ago, on another Friday, Nov. 22, a piece of America’s innocence was forever shattered by an assassin’s bullet.
We tend to look back at our past with a sort of idealized, romantic nostalgia. The presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, for many, is one such time. Regardless of any modern analysis of his three years in office, President Kennedy will be forever linked in the American psyche with "Camelot"—a "brief, shining moment" when the nation was filled with promise and hope for the future.
The years that were to follow—with the ramped-up involvement in the Vietnam War, civil unrest, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, the Watergate scandal and resignation of Richard Nixon—put the nation on a much different trajectory.
Who knows how the nation would be different if that fateful bullet had not found its target. Perhaps the course of history would have been roughly the same. Perhaps some worse catastrophe would have befallen us. There’s no way of knowing.
But as we think about the man, and all the "what-ifs" of history, let us reflect on the final words of the speech President Kennedy was to deliver that evening, and its message of a better future for all Americans:
Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause—united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future—and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.