The short writing is from New York Times on the day after President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas fifty three years ago. It is written as a “In Memoriam”, it’s author is unknown. I was in high school in Istanbul when President Kennedy had died. He was a President not only loved and respected by his own countrymen, but in other countries overseas as well. I still remember following the presidential elections of 1961 between Nixon and a young, thirty nine year old Kennedy, in the newspapers. I also remember my father crying by the radio, listening to the news the day he had died. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the hope and the light of our times. Suddenly that light was extinguished and the days of November in 1963 looked darker than ever.
Fifty some years later, again in November we went through another presidential election. Suddenly, all of the civil and human rights, religious freedom, the acceptance of equality among men and races, the rights of disabled persons, which started gaining recognition with the Kennedy Presidency and strengthened with President Johnson seemed to be in jeopardy.
The short writing of, “in memoriam” written for President Kennedy on one of the darkest days of American history, gave me the much needed inspiration on this November day and I wanted to share it with you. Seasons will come and go. Every winter is followed by a spring, every night by a dawn. Time will pass, but human aspiration and hope is eternal.
Among the last words President Kennedy wrote were:
“In a world full of frustrations and irritations , America’s leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason”.
As long as we hope and believe the American dream will continue.
November 16, 2016
NEW YORK TIMES November 23, 1963 issue
The leaden skies of yesterday were like a pall. A sense of grief seemed to hang in the air. Such a feeling was inevitable, for it was though the very wind was keening in the woodlands, the trees themselves sensitive to human emotions. Late November is the year’s own time of long sleep, the summary if not the farewell.The hills are bare to the buffeting of winter.
And yet, the hills still stand.The trees are still rooted and rugged. Rivers flow to the sea. And beyond the gray clouds the sun keeps to its course and the stars are in there in their appointed places.The eternities prevail.We live with those eternities, though ourselves mortal;it is the human dream, the hope and aspiration, that persists. Take away all else and those are the human eternities.
Robert Frost, in his last book wrote lines that sum it up:
We vainly wrestle with the blind belief
That aught we cherish
Can ever quite pass out of utter grief
And wholly perish
Dark days come, inevitable. And time persists, time that both dark and light and forever changing. The time of stars, the time of the hills, the time of man. And nothing cherished ever wholly perishes Gray November is a passing thing, and year’s end is no end at all, but another marker on the great rhythm. A tree falls , and a seedling is already rooted.
Man persists, man with the capacity to dream and hope and dream again. Man , with his capacity for shock and grief, but also with his inheritance of faith, or belief, is participation in the great truth of continuity.