My mother was a big fan of the Kennedy family who were popular in the way that rock stars were. The charisma of John F. Kennedy and his family lead them to their being called the figurative designation of Camelot. This name was credited by Jacqueline Kennedy in view of John’s affection for the musical. Jacqueline Kennedy was admired for her style and elegance and I vividly remember my mother trying to mimic her wardrobe in her own closet. Even though my mother wasn’t much into politics, like many other Americans, she was swept away by the family’s allure and charisma.
I will also never forget that dismal day, November 22, 1963. I was in the third grade and the principal’s voice came on the loud speaker and told us that we should stand up behind our chairs because he had an important piece of news. “I’m very sad to report that our beloved President Kennedy has just been assassinated in Dallas, Texas.” The word ‘assassinated’ became part of my vocabulary that week, It was one of our ten spelling words and echoed repeatedly all week long on the black and white television perched on the small table in our living room. Our weekend writing assignment was to write an essay titled, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” in honor of Kennedy’s words spoken at his inaugural address.
Yesterday I watched Ted Kennedy’s Memorial Service, this time on a colored television but with similar feelings of admiration. As a grown woman, I now have a better understanding of the important mark some people make on our country’s history and how their legacy will live on. Ted Kennedy served forty years of his life in the senate, and after watching highlights from his speeches and interactions throughout those years, one can clearly see how much fun he must have been to work with; how his strong sense of humor lightened up some very tenuous moments. During these difficult economic times, this could be a lesson to us. Let’s lighten up, be thankful for the good things and remember to make the most of our sense of humor!
Rest in peace, Ted Kennedy.