Today marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's death. Like many people, the most remarkable thing about his life was his death.
If only I had a nickel for each time someone is compelled to share where they were when they heard he had died. They were in school, at work, walking to the student union, cleaning the house, driving in the car. The point is that we were everywhere carrying on our lives when it happened. There is no new story here. Where you were at the time is no more sacred or memorable than where I was at the time. Since a great portion of the American population is younger than 50 years, most of Americans have absolutely no memory of where they were when it happened because they were not alive at the time.
Someone wrote, "Rest in peace, John Kennedy." It's been 50 years. If he is not in peace by now, he is relegated for eternity to chaos and pain. His story is written; he cannot undo anything in his life or his death. It is final.
As for me, I can barely remember when this happened. My long-term memory has never been good. My mother chastised me when she insisted that I should remember certain things from 30 years ago. But I didn't. I know I was in an 8th grade math class when the announcement came over the loud speaker. I know that my teacher in that class was Mrs. Morton. I don't remember how she reacted. We were out of school until after the funeral, and I watched the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and the funeral procession for Kennedy on our small black and white television. I remember that the country stopped everything. That's about it.
It was 50 years ago. In the case of any other people who have been dead for 50 years, we somehow find the will to move on, to carry on our lives, to give up the grieving. We lay them to rest and then go home to have a bite of something to eat.
It's perfectly acceptable to move on from this thing. Perhaps it's our own national psyche that needs to rest in peace.