JFK: The anniversary we don’t forget.

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.

This week I'm reading Time Magazine's special issue: "The Moment That Changed America" and a few letters from "Letters to Jackie, Condolences from a Grieving Nation" by Ellen Fitzpatrick.

This week I’m reading Time Magazine’s special issue: “The Moment That Changed America” and a few letters from “Letters to Jackie, Condolences from a Grieving Nation” by Ellen Fitzpatrick.

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

From the American Experience series, "JFK."

From the American Experience series, “JFK.”

History lovers rejoice. “Jackie Kennedy. In Her Own Words.”

John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy at the President's Inauguration in 1961. Photo from Life Magazine archives, Paul Shutzer, photographer.

Growing up, I was fascinated by Jacqueline Kennedy and the history of the Kennedy family. I think my love of photography was born out of watching and studying all the Life Magazine photographs of the Camelot era in black and white, analyzing the president and lovely first lady, then learning the history of and tragedy of November 1963. So addictive! Of course I later became obsessed with “Jackie O” because thought she would be the perfect “suegra,” since I was convinced I would marry John F. Kennedy Jr. when I grew up. (Soñar no cuesta nada. Who did not love that man, right?)

To this day I think our fascination with this woman does not end. We’ve had countless discussions, my family and friends, analyzing her style and everything that made her so distinct, so alluring, and so attractive. A great conversation to be had, if you like discussing these sorts of things.

Tonight all lovers of history and all things Kennedy will be glued to their TV sets as ABC air a 2 hour special with a rare interview. “Jackie Kennedy, In Her Own Words,” starts at 9pm PST, but check you local listings.

Mrs. Kennedy granted Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., a Kennedy historian, a lengthy conversation just a few months after her husband’s death. The interview was recorded 47 years ago and never before aired to the public. There is also a book published to commemorate this interview and it’s special place in history.

The New York Times writes:

At just 34, and in what her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, describes in a foreword to the book as “the extreme stages of grief,” Mrs. Kennedy displays a cool self-possession and a sharp, somewhat unforgiving eye. In her distinctive breathy cadences, an intimate tone and the impeccable diction of women of her era and class, she delivers tart commentary on former presidents, heads of state, her husband’s aides, powerful women, women reporters, even her mother-in-law.

Charles DeGaulle, the French president, is “that egomaniac.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is “a phony” whom electronic eavesdropping has found arranging encounters with women. Indira Gandhi, the future prime minister of India, is “a real prune — bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman.”

Oh, I can’t wait to hear this!! The video below is the promo for the show and will take you to youtube.

 

 

If you want a little sound bite teaser, head over to NYT.com for the article and audio clips with photos.

The link is here.

The NY Times article includes audio clips and photographs.

 

 

And if you want to relive a little bit of Camelot, check out the great photo gallery archives from Life Magazine.