Remembering a president

November 22 marks a dark moment in the country’s history, as it is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Many news and television stations have already had specials and others will have programs on that day in 1963 in Dallas.

The Star Tribune recently had an article of how the historical relevance of JFK is losing ground. The article stated how some teachers are working to reverse that.

When you stop to consider how many things President Kennedy touched on, you realize he deserves a spot in the history books. During his brief time in the Oval Office, he was an advocate for the space race. He believed the United States should work toward getting a man to the moon and back safely before the end of the 1960s. He worked with civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, there were other things he was known for, one being his faith, as he was the first Roman Catholic elected president. While a person’s faith is still a factor for some voters today, it was even bigger in the 1960s.

The most important moment in his presidency was the Cuban Missile Crisis. For nearly two weeks, the world’s citizens nervously watched as the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, inched dangerously toward and then avoided a nuclear war. Some of Kennedy’s military advisors advocated bombing Cuba and hitting it hard to take out any missile sites. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and an agreement was reached.

For many people President Kennedy represented some of the best qualities of the nation. He’s often been described as the first president for television, in that he was young, handsome and articulate. It was likely an assortment of factors, from his youth to the hope people had in him that his death hit so many people hard.

Over the years, his death and questions about it have created conspiracy theories. The one that has spawned the most is whether Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or was he part of a group? Also, JFK’s image has tarnished as people have discovered he was a very fallible person with feet of clay.

Despite the discovery of his failings, there are still many people a half-century after his death who hold him as one of the best examples of a president in the 20th Century. We’ll see if history bears that out.