It is Friday, November 22, 1963; traffic is stopped in the streets; in England, everyone wears a black band around his arm, and the bells at Westminster toll through the night; in Moscow, a young girl, crying, goes into the American Embassy, and hands them a large bouquet of white flowers, saying, “I want you to have them — I think he was a wonderful man;” in Africa, natives in their ceremonial dress openly weep as a political leader reads a eulogy; in Dallas, Texas, a brave woman cradles the head of her dead husband in her lap and, kissing his blood-crusted lips, takes off her wedding ring and slips it onto his finger; the whole world has heard the news and mourns the loss; President Kennedy is dead!

He was more than just the man who started the Peace Corps, more than just the man who didn’t bakc down duringhe Cuban crisis, more than just the man who negotiated the test Ban Treaty with Russia – he was friend and protector to all, even those who had never met him beyond the normal scope of publicity. He held the fate of the nation in his hands, and the people were confident in his unerring ability as a world leader and diplomat. The Civil Rights Bill, the tax-cut, the Medicare Bill – he worked so hard to have them pass from idea to reality – and may have succeeded if not for his untimely and tragic death at the hands of a sniper. But though dead physically, he will forever live in the hearts of the people he served so faithfully. As former vice-president Richard M. Nixon noted, “He was just written the final chapter to Profiles in Courage.”


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