I’m old enough to (barely) remember Dwight Eisenhowever as President. But I was paying attention during the 1960 Presidential campaign. I don’t recall having a strong preference between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon initially.
I became sympathetic towards JFK after he gave a speech about his Catholic faith in September 1960 in Houston, TX. It seemed unfair then, and now, that he was forced to defend his religion and his participation in it.
Photowannabe’s high school band played and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue for President Kennedy’s Inauguration Parade.
I liked the Kennedys in the White House. They had a couple children, Caroline, a little older than my baby sister, and the baby, John, Jr. who was born just after the election.
I wasn’t paying attention to the disastrous Bay of Pigs incursion in Cuba in April 1961. But all of us were aware of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, because we had the vague feeling that because of…WHATEVER was happening, we could end up at war, perhaps in the United States.
The cliche that there was a picture of JFK, MLK Jr and Jesus in every black home was an exaggeration, but I surely saw the phenomenon many times. In terms of the 35th president, it seemed more for his POTENTIAL for aiding the civil rights movement, which, by the last year of his life, I was paying a lot of attention to.
Here’s a factoid: “After a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, President John F. Kennedy encouraged all Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country by designating May 1963 as Senior Citizens Month. Every president since has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May in support of older Americans.”
I do recall, with some detail, the death of Patrick Kennedy in August 1963, at less than two days old. This made me incredibly sad.
Of course, the shooting in Dallas was etched in the minds of everyone above a certain age. Some months later, the Warren Report on the assassination was released, with excerpts appearing in the local newspaper. I cut out those pages and taped them on paper which I then put in a three-ring binder. I still have that binder in the attic somewhere.
It was only later I thought, it wasn’t even supposed to be John that his father would groom to be President, it was supposed to be Joe, Jr. But he died in the war, the same one that almost took Jack’s life as well.
Of course, there a bunch of centennial stories out there, from the Kennedy Center and Celebrate JFK at 100 by walking in his footsteps, e.g. Or Inside the Scandalous Life of JFK’s Sister, Kick Kennedy.
Jackie was right: Camelot was over on 11/22/1963. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but surely I felt it, that loss of innocence and possibility. Lyndon Johnson undoubtedly achieved more for civil rights, using the slain leader as a prod for Congress to take the right action. But things would never be the same.
I collected as many Kennedy 50 cent pieces as I could, which were – alas- stolen, because I wanted to, quite literally, hold onto that time as long as I could.