November 22nd 1963--America's First 9/11

I mentioned to a co-worker today that it was November 22nd, the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  I was lamenting the fact that in recent years, the date seems to pass without much if any recognition by the media or politicians.  I opined the lack of notice for such a life changing event.  “That day,” I said, “this Country and the world changed.”  My friend nodded in agreement, and added “It was kind of like 9/11”.  His words stopped me cold.  It was exactly like 9/11.

On that November morning in 1963, I was a school kid enjoying a brisk but sunny recess with my friends.  This day however, our time was cut short and teachers came out onto the playfield to herd us all to our classrooms.  I remember my normally cheerful teacher appearing solemn and worried as a television was rolled into the room and turned on.

Many kids my age had not yet confronted death.  Oh, sure, we watched John Wayne win the battle for Iwo Jima, but that somehow was sanitized fantasy death.  The actors got up and went home for dinner, and we knew it.  What was unfolding before us on that TV was real and in your face.

Seeing a television news person fighting back tears is at once compelling and was to many, terrifying.  More than a few citizens wondered who could do such a thing, why would they do it, and worried are they coming for us?

When I went home, my folks acted different somehow.  They seemed to have lost that spark, the optimism that characterized the early 60’s.  It was a change that was never reversed.  A certain hopelessness and cynicism settled in, and my parents weren’t alone.  America changed that day as well.

This Country stumbled in the late 60’s with despair and violence.  No longer were we immune to the evils of the world.  If our beloved President could be struck down, were any of us safe?  Those same feelings came rushing back on 9/11/2001.  In both cases, we were not attacked by a country, but rather by dangerous ideology:  A Communist in 1963 and radical Islamists in 2001.  Do not be mislead, one has not replaced the other.

Both are dedicated to destruction of America and our way of life.  Both intend to steal our freedoms and collapse our economy.  Both are as dangerous today as ever.  In the nearly 50 years since President Kennedy’s death, we seem to have forgotten the danger that took his life.  Today the date passes with hardly an acknowledgment.  Hopefully the mere passage of time won’t cloud our recollection of the events of 09/11, or the perilous world in which we exist.

Originally posted on 11/22/2010 at ConservativeCompass.com