"We celebrate the past to awaken the future" - JFK

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Thursday, October 30, 2008

We have so much we want to do in this city of Boston, that it's difficult to find enough hours or days.  As you will have probably picked up from my last entry, the city of Boston is quite beautiful.  Never, have I seen so many trees planted in a city - it's like the city has been built as a matter of necessity only, and they have been built as 'quietly' and as indiscreetly as possible.  For such an inaugral city, they must be commended for their preservation of the land, sea and sky....  I digress again.

Although, the children don't understand to the same extent, Gary & I really wanted to spend some time, exploring the JFK Presidential Library and Musuem.  I wasn't sure what to expect - to be quite frank, library.... Musuem ... does conjure up 'boring' - I could NOT have been more wrong.

What do these Americans do with musuems that make them so incredible??   Gary & I discussed this today.  Why is it, every time I walk out of one of these things, I feel so moved and challenged.  It's so hard to rest on your laurels when ordinary men before you, have gone on to do some extraordinary things, with seemingly not much more than you and I possess.   I would say, the one thing, all these men and women, that we have met through the museum presentations share, is: COURAGE.   I cannot put it more simply.

The JFK library is situated right on Columbia Point, overlooking the water with Boston in the background.  Jacqueline (his wife) sought out an area that would be particularly poignant, and certainly represents JFK's love of the sea (it was that affiliation with the sea that drew hime to sign up in the Navy during the war) , and both herself and the president grew up in this area.   A good part of the exibits are dedicated to Jacqueline - I did not realise what an asset she was to the White House , and how her style and love of art and culture, gave it such a breath of fresh air.   This was definitely the turning point in the 'social' side of the political arena.  What a gorgeous woman, and what a match.   After they were married, they had some wonderful family vacations sailing and enjoying the summer in Cape Cod.   So... that is the setting.   Now, let's take a look at the man.

He was brought up in a political world - his father was Amassador to Great Britain during the Roosevelt years, and Jack worked as a secretary for this dad.  So this whole political scene, meeting royalty etc, was ingrained.  It was just part of the job.   He was from a large family (one of 9 kids -  obviously I have nothing on her!)  and there was definitely money around.   He attended Harvard, and even then one of his teachers wrote in his report that "John could be a great leader of men, and I think he will do it."  Understatement.

Interestingly though, he had never thought of entering politics as his passion was writing - he has written some amazing books - he even toyed with the idea of being a teacher - what an inspriational teacher he would have been!  But the world war changed things for him, as I guess it did for a lot of people back then.

This is a personal point of view only - but I've always considered U.S.A. to be a bit 'sheltered' in the matters of the world; somewhat self centered.   They are in their own world, and as such self absorbed in their own power and 'rights'.    However, I concede having listened a lot to John  F Kennedy today,he was no dummy and was convinced that good relationships with the rest of the world, was vital for America's survival.       He truly believed America could be the best, and he fought for it's freedom.   A particular moving video, was of him, watching from the oval office, on TV, the speech of Martin Luther King ... "I have a Dream....."    He was very somber.
In his short 3 years of Presidency, he negotiated with the Russians to halt what was known  as the Cuban Crisis, whereby Cuba's allegiance with Russia and its' stationing of missiles was a direct and serious threat against the U.S.   For those that went through this time,  they describe those 5 days as a 'time the world stood still'.
He was also hugely instrumental in bringing about the abolition of segregation.   He spoke often about believing in yourself, and having the courage to see things through, despite congressional opionion, or in fact the opinion of others at all.   Doing what is right.   One thing that he said in one of his speeches, that I really liked, was "today the finger is pointed at a Catholic, but tomorrow it might be you" -   do not judge, do not discriminate, but fight for freedom.   

The  things he accomplished in his 3 short years changed America (and the world):
*no segregation
*3 x legislation improving the incomprehinsible and repulsive mental health system
*putting man into space
Etc, etc,....
I don't believe he deserved to die so young, but that of course is my human reaction - I am not God.    What I do know, is that he would have been the most sought after adversary, and the most feared enemy.  Maybe that's what got him killed?   But it doesn't matter, as he says "man may die, and nations may fall, but the idea lives on".  
A quote from the 'blurb' on the brochure says:   .....   we hope your experience provides you with new insights ..... and that you are inspried by President Kennedy's vision that one person can make a difference, and every person should try.

And you wonder why I feel so challenged as I walk out.........
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