Niagara Gazette

Columns

March 23, 2014

SINGER: Still remembering Kennedy

Niagara Gazette — The JFK tragedy was ultra-commemorated for its 50th anniversary, and you might think me vain to offer my belated two cents worth in this realm. What more can one say about the man, the era, and the tragedy that hasn’t already been said?

And yet one does think about it, unavoidably so, even when not inundated on the subject by the media, as we recently were. One thinks of that handsome, classy face, that neat haircut and besuited figure which kept appearing (too much) on TV this past fall.

My take is that today’s nostalgic America goes overboard in commemoration. And my deeper take is that concerning JFK, there is something totemic about all these efforts at remembrance.

To me, the late president has indeed become a kind of totem representing a world we have lost and which many would nonetheless like to recover; but of course to no avail.

Simply put, they don’t make ‘em like Jack Kennedy anymore. That possibly sounds extreme, but to become another JFK, his replacement would have to be New England, Irish, Catholic, “Hahvad,” and America itself when all those things were what they no longer are. You’d have to have had a strict, fair, impeccably-clad mother like Rose Kennedy of a type that’s also become rarer these days.

Not to mention the specific verve of John Kennedy himself. His older brother, Joe, killed in World War II, might also have demonstrated such verve, including as a potential politician — he was certainly being groomed for that career. But I haven’t immersed myself enough in this snuffed-out existence to proffer any solid opinions on the subject.

Of the other two Kennedy brothers, the tragic Bobby and longer-lived Ted, both obviously had special qualities and political attainments in their own right. But to me (and to many, I’m sure) JFK was classiest of the bunch — effortlessly bright, appealing, charismatic, courageous, and naturally noble (despite all we now know of his private life).

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