"Will everyone please rise." This was the ominous voice of our school principal sounding through a loudspeaker connected to the front wall of our 7th grade classroom on Friday, November 22, 1963. Mr. Resnick, our science teacher, had just entered our room a few minutes before saying something about a shooting in Dallas, TX where the President was visiting.
"The President is Dead." Stunned, shocked, overcome by emotions that somehow had never existed, we were sent home immediately, walking with our classmates in a daze along the main thoroughfare in Forest Hills, NY where we went to school.
The next few hours were a total blur and then for four straight days every television channel (no exceptions) carried only news of the death of JFK, the second assassination two days later of his alleged killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby, and the President's solemn burial at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday November 25, 1963, JFK Jr.'s third birthday
For years, I kept a copy of the Telegram and Sun newspaper under my desk, with the enormous headline "PRESIDENT SHOT DEAD." Every time I looked at it, feelings of disbelief raced through my consciousness. I was 13 years old when the President died and I was never the same again as a person. I am sure many of you, who lived through this time, have similar feelings.
Why This Story…
I have made this our cover story--having wanted to do this feature for the last 18 years!--for one main reason. The United States of America has never recovered from the murder of President Kennedy. We have a psychic wound that has never healed. Starting on November 22, 1963, the nation moved on to a future path that may NOT have been for our higher destiny as a people
In the Jane Roberts books (popular in the 1970s), a personage known as "Seth" speaks of our "probable futures." It is as though we have multiple paths into the future and all kinds of odd events and decisions keep shifting us from one "probable future" onto another. This is the way I think of what happened to our nation on November 22, 1963. We were moving along on a certain path, to me a rather positive, inspiring one. Then, suddenly ZAP! A lightning bolt of calamity strikes and we are on another, very unclear and darkened road into a nebulous future.
While we now know that JFK had many imperfections as President, that he was a flawed and probably highly-promiscuous leader of our country, at that time he, Mrs. Kennedy and their two children (Caroline and John, Jr.) did represent the perfect and archetypal family (youthful and beautiful Father, Mother, Daughter and Son). There was a truth and power to the Camelot symbolism of those days. And the President, because of his vigor, wit and intelligence, was setting our country on a dynamic course, the "New Frontier" as it was termed in those 1000 days.
The President initiated the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress. He and his brother (Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General, later to be assassinated in mysterious fashion in June 1968), through their powerful minds, helped to prevent World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis during thirteen days in the second half of October 1962. And it was President Kennedy (a Gemini, air Sun-sign) who pushed for and won the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty during the summer of 1963 (just prior to his assassination), a treaty that banned nuclear weapon testing in the air, oceans and outer space (but not underground). This treaty was one of President Kennedy's great accomplishments. He also inspired us with just one sentence before Congress, that we, as a nation, should land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s and bring him back safely to Earth.
In the 1990s, fitness and physical health were very big, but many forget that from 1961-1963, America was on an extreme exercise craze. Again, this was because the President was only 43-years-old at his inauguration and even though he suffered terribly from Addison's Disease and a miserable, painful back (partly from his heroic saving of PT-101 and his shipmates during World War II), he appeared so youthful and energetic, that he wanted to get this country "moving again." And to do so, all the schools were geared to calisthenics. In addi