Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Loss of a Friend

44 years ago today (November 24th) I wrote an essay for an English class. It was the Sunday before our Thanksgiving break and I had a paper due on Tuesday. I had a tendency to put off my assignments until the eleventh hour. I felt that I did some of my best writing when under pressure.

Why do I remember this date and the essay so distinctly? I wrote it two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The theme of essay was about the loss of someone that you love and admire. I did love and admire the president. But the essay could have just as well been about a family member or a friend.

The essay came straight from my heart, full of pathos and bereavement. The title of the essay was “The Loss of a Friend”. I never mentioned the President’s name, but everyone knew who it was about when I read it aloud in class.

I was deeply touched and impressed by President Kennedy’s speeches and his charisma. When he spoke to the youth of America, he won our hearts. “We stand today on the edge of a new frontier - the frontier of the 1960's - a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils - a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats." He made my generation feel that they could make a difference, and he gave us hope for our future. "In each of us, there is a private hope and dream
which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit
for everyone."

Most people my age can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that the President had been shot in Dallas. Classes were suspended and televisions were turned on in all of the classrooms. The girls all shed tears and the guys (who are made of much sterner stuff) sat quietly with somber looks on their faces.

Reality had set in.

I pondered the ramifications of this loss of a friend for hours before writing my paper. I have often wondered how things may have changed had John F. Kennedy lived and had served two full terms in office. My idealism disappeared on the day Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President; my life had been changed.

The Beach Bum

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Duke Zazz,
I hope that you are reading your posts. Know in your heart that you, yourself, is a special friend to me and countless other individuals who have come to know you through the course of the years.
May God Bless you and enrich your own life for the next 40 or 50 years. We need you around good buddy.
peace bro,

Sun Nov 25, 09:13:00 AM  
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