FORTY SEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY

John F. Kennedy was assonated.

If you are 60 or older you will remember where you were when you heard. You’ll remember the circumstances or context. You’ll likely remember the local weather. If you were a Republican partisan, you’ll remember being as numb as your Democrat friends. You’ll remember Democrats did not call you, “The enemy” in those days. It was a different time. Most of us remember this picture being in black and white: 

 Democrats today do not talk like Kennedy. I wonder if they would be in the same party with him. Here is a bit of what he said:

“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom ―symbolizing an end as well as a beginning ―signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe ―the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans ―born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage ―and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. . . .

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (From Inaugural Address January 20, 1961.)

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
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