Yesterday, I wrote “Dog Comics, Part I.” Of course there needs to at least be a follow up, “Part II.” I even have plans for “Part III.” If the dogs continue to make me laugh, there may be a whole series.
Not today, though. Today, I’m not in a comical state of mind.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It barely made the news. Well, I don’t have television, so maybe it did. It did not show up on my headline page when I went to Google News, Yahoo News and BBC News. I saw just a couple mentions of it on Facebook. Those of us that remember that day are older now, and fewer.
It’s a sign of our age, and our generation, to remember those solemn, scary days. The voices of newsmen, breaking with emotion. The images that played out over and over on television: processional cars suddenly speeding away; Jacqueline’s blood-covered pink suit; little John Jr.’s noble salute as his father’s coffin passes by.
I was in grade school when Kennedy was shot. Before I graduated high school, television news had reported on the shooting deaths of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy, and four unarmed students at Kent State University. Newspapers were daily showing graphic images of the war in VietNam. Friends, acquaintances and classmates were among the casualties. Death became a normal facet of life.
For the next generation, the big, memorable, horrible occurrence was the Challenger disaster. The generation after that saw the Twin Towers come down. And there are many young people out there who have no living memory of that horrific event, though they have grown up in a world changed by it.
I was eleven years old when John Kennedy was shot. I didn’t know how to put in in perspective. I had nothing to compare it with. I was too young to form the questions that I wonder about today. Was it as awful as it seemed to be, when I was eleven years old? How about the soldiers that fought in World War II, that liberated the Jews from death camps, that experienced the bombing obliteration of much of Europe, that saw the after effects of nuclear warfare…did they have perspective? And how did it compare?
All I knew, at age eleven, was that it changed my world.