Fifty years ago, and it still evokes sadness and haunts us a little bit.
This important anniversary of the assasination of President John F. Kennedy has sparked a renovated interest in the history of this tragic day. Fifty years seems like a long time ago, but in the timeline and scheme of things, of world history, it’s quite recent. It’s still a vivid memory for everyone who lived through it.
All week long there have been countless documentaries on TV, print articles and interviews remembering JFK. It’s like a history lesson from the USA. We are revisiting Camelot, analyzing the Kennedys, Jackie, the Civil Rights movement, the time the world came to the brink of nuclear war, and the legacy of JFK.
I wasn’t born yet in 1963, but as a kid I remember all the LIFE Magazines my grandfather kept around the house and how I was enamored of the images of Jackie Kennedy. Such grace, such class and such perfection, all her stylish outfits from over the years. They were my favorite pictures and she was “kind of” my idol. (Nevermind that I always believed she would be my suegra one day, because I was convinced I would marry JFK Jr., but I digress.)
Here are a few things to share.
A couple of years ago, a book called “Letters to Jackie” was featured in the New York Times. It’s a book of letters of condolences to the First Lady, from people all over the world, compiled by Ellen Fitzpatrick. Needless to say, some of the letters are so eloquent and simple, that they make you quite emotional. (Here is the link to the article in the NYT). I got a copy of it last year and read a few letter this week. It is unimaginable to understand the grief and confusion people felt at the time. “Y así se puso el día triste cuando se murió,” se acuerda mi abuela. “Lo quería mucho toda la gente.” (She’s been watching and remembering too.)
CBS Sunday Morning (my favorite TV show) devoted an entire 90 minutes to JFK last week. It’s been their highest rated episode in the last few years! Here are 2 videos from this show. In one of them Jackie even speaks Spanish:
PBS also has a wonderful two-part documentary on JFK that is not to be missed. It’s a couple of hours long but it is simply amazing, with all the early footage and archives they include. I had never seen as much of young JFK’s life in video, and for the first time I understood the power of his charisma and allure.
He was a charming man on camera, a great study on the effects of his wit and grace. Even after all the flaws we know about him today, he was definitely a unique human being, truly something else. This is a documentary not to be missed and is part of the American Experience series. Click on the link here: JFK