November 21, 2016
53 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The country was shocked and it led to the awakening of a generation to the harsh, cruel realities of the world. In fact, after that fateful day, many things that had been the norm and/or taken for granted started to become challenged. This event contributed to the ushering in of the tumultuous Sixties, protests against a very unpopular war, the hippie generation, the sexual revolution, other political assassinations, Black Power and many other cultural shifts.
On that fateful day, I was a high school freshman. My first knowledge of the shooting in Dallas came as I finished fourth period gym with the radio conveying the unbelievable: that the President had been shot. Not much else was communicated immediately, just that the youthful President had been shot in the head. Speculation reigned that there are places one could be shot in the head and survive. Yet life went on and I went to my fifth period Algebra class where I was to take a test.
We began the test and about 20-30 minutes into the test, the announcement came that President Kennedy had died. Shock, some crying and other signs of grief were displayed by some of the students in my class, but we were told to finish the test. Yes, finish the test and finish the test we did.
My high school was less than 30 minutes away from the White House and there was a certain connection to this President that may have been greater than other areas of the country. In fact, President Kennedy did a rally at my high school during his campaign. Yet we took the test.
I have been thoroughly dismayed and even disgusted with the reaction of many after the recent Presidential election. For Yale University, one of the top institutes of higher education, and other Colleges and Universities to allow students to NOT take exams or even bother to come to class because they were distraught because their candidate did not win is appalling. No exam for days over an election because it may bother you that your candidate did not win, yet my generation took tests the day President Kennedy was shot and killed is scary. An election was conducted and someone won, someone lost. Are we raising the next generation to be so soft they cannot handle “LIFE”? Are we allowing that next generation to take their ball and go home with it instead of facing the truths that exist?
Then we see the violence and protesting that has continued for the past two weeks. Yes, they are allowed to protest, but violence against others and destruction of property, because they did not get their way is criminal and should be handled as such. Protest peacefully, yes. Commit violent acts disguised as protests, no.
To top that off, we find that many of the protesters did not even vote. Wow! They did not even vote and yet, they are protesting the result. My generation fought to change the voting age from 21 to 18, in part because we felt that if we were old enough to carry a gun to fight a war for this nation, we should at least be able to vote. What would this current generation do if faced with the selective service draft or have to carry a gun to protect the rights and liberties that so many of us and our ancestors fought and died for?
November 1963 vs. November 2016 – which generation of Americans understood/understands how to deal with the realities of life and living in this great nation. To quote Eric Bolling: “Wake Up America!”