I cannot project my experience onto you readers, nor can I make my heroes your heroes, or vice versa. On the 100th Birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, however, it seems only right to make a comment and pay homage to a truly good, wonderfully great, American man. A man who now lives on in our nation’s memory with a dark hue accompanying him; a grotesque assassination that took him away one fall day and left a nation alone to grapple with the fact and fiction of his death. But more important to me than his death, is his life. A life spent in humble study and magnificent courage, a life full of sacrifice and tempered authority. A tremendous understanding of the million voices America shouts out with, and an admirable desire to hear each one. So Happy Birthday, JFK. A life spent looking up to you isn’t a bad way to live. I would know.

For some insight to the man’s profound mind and ideology, read on.

“There are three things which are real; God, Human Folly and Laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension so we must do what we can with the third.”

“For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.”

“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.”

“My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us…step back from the shadow of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step.” 

“This is a great country and requires a good deal of all of us, so I can imagine nothing more important than for all of you to continue to work in public affairs and be interested in them, not only to bring up a family, but also give part of your time to your community, your state, and your country.” 

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”
“…There is a terrific disadvantage not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily, to an administration, even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn’t any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.”
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscious.”
“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.”
-John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

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