Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Last Hero?

Keith here.

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States. Each year since 1963, when November 22 slithers across the calendar, I remember that day and those that followed. The shock. The widow’s blood-stained dress. The riderless horse. The son’s salute.

In office President Kennedy stood for culture, for civil rights. He was a family man and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a student of history. Now we know the truth is far more nuanced in each case. (I visited the Kennedy Library and saw his college transcript: D+ in European History.)

I do yearn for those days when we had heroes. Remember? I did have heroes growing up, but none have lasted. Even if JFK was not the hero we thought, he did perform heroic acts. I’ve read the transcripts of the Executive Committee that met during the Cuban Missile Crisis. There he deserves his reputation. The generals wanted to bomb Cuba and invade it. He did save the world from nuclear war. And I must admit his inauguration address still inspires.

So for me November 22 is more than that horrible day when our president was murdered. In retrospect my listening over the school loudspeakers as a pre-teenaged boy was the beginning of growing up, of knowing how little can be counted on in this world we live in.

P.S. This is my last regular post on InkSpot. I want to thank my fellow Inkers for letting me tag along. Thanks also to those of you who read my blatherings and commented. It's been a great community. If anyone wants to see what I'm up to, keep an eye on my website and my personal blog. Friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. See you around the Web!


Alan Orloff said...

Nice post, Keith! Heroes are few and far between. We'll miss you on the blog--hopefully you'll make some time to do some guest posting. You always did lend some class to the blog!

Robin Allen said...

Seems like every date in history has some sadness attached to it. My hero is Jesus.

Nice farewell post, Keith. We'll let you back in whenever you want.

Keith Raffel said...

Thanks, Robin. Thanks, Alan. I will miss being a part of the Inkspot team.

Darrell James said...

I still have the image of six period study hall burned into my brain. Our science teacher, Mr. Richardson, ashen face, making the announcement. The boys were mostly solemn, the girls were sobbing quietly. I can still recall every face at my table on that day. Right or wrong a bit of denial helps me hold onto my heroes.

Don't stray too far, Keith. We'll miss you here at the InkSpot.

Kathleen Ernst said...

Great post, Keith. Please stop back often!

G.M. Malliet said...

Not good-bye but so long, Keith, and good luck with the many projects you're juggling. I always loved your posts, including this one.

Keith Raffel said...

Darrell, no wonder we are so screwed up! Thanks for the invitation, Kathleen. Gin, am looking forward to our paths crossing again soon.

Deborah Sharp said...

Hiya, Keith ... can't believe your reign as our blog czar is ending, but I hope you'll come back to visit. Always love hearing (reading?) what you have to say. This post, included.
Back in my reporting days, I went to Dallas to do a story on the 40-year-anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. Amazing the emotions/passions that event STILL evokes.

Keith Raffel said...

It does still scar my psyche, Deb. I guess you and Cricket are the two senior members of Inkspot now? Keep up the good work. And Happy Thanksgiving.