I was waking up to the world between the ages 18-21. That was the time I knew of him. I was a junior in college. I had been excited to help John Kennedy's campaign for the presidency, although I was too young to vote for him. I had discovered politics and was making decisions about how I was going to live my life in this world. I was young and full of expectations.
I had seen him that Sept. in Laramie when he spoke at the University about the importance of education. Fifty years ago today a bright light in my life went out when his life ended. I have never gotten over it. He influenced the way I have lived my life more then almost anyone else.
I went to the Peace Corps. I worked in public service. I value the poor and work for peace. I have stayed active in politics and he is the reason for all of it. I am 71 years old now and there is rarely a day that goes by that I don't think of him. He was my mentor. I was inspired by his words and felt secure that he was leading our country.
I agree that an unspeakable evil killed him. He had intentions to end the war and work for world peace. He frightened the war hawks and those who made money from chaos. His idealism was almost too much for this world to hope for or to embrace.
It is often said that time will relieve the pain of death. I cannot think of what happened 50 years ago with any peace in my heart. Just a constant, inexorable sadness of what might have been. Johnny, we hardly got to know you. The glimpse was gleeful but far too short, and the time without you way too long and far away.
I remember it well. I was in the cafeteria, reaching for a dish of tapioca to put on my lunch tray. A friend came up to me and told me the President had been shot. The world I knew at that moment ended, and innocence was forever gone.
Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot.