JFK, Our Special Georgetowner
The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22 will be on a Friday, the same day of the week when it occurred in 1963.
This means we will again head into a postassassination weekend, brimming with restored memories of the days of drums, days filled with shock after shock, including the live-ontelevision of the suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in front of stunned millions.
This day, and all the recent days leading up to the anniversary are filled with the memory keepers, the conspiracy theorist, the still-grieving, the noted absence of the missing who played important roles in those days, those times. It is the job of archivists to remember, and of journalists and quasi-journalists, and bloggers and stir-the-leaves-of-autumn-with-doubt types to rehash, resurrect, remember remind, and reminisce among the ashes of the time. Oliver Stone will have his opinion again, that his epic assassination film “JFK” was a kind of truth, about the presence of conspiracy and conspirators, although as you watch the actor Kevin Costner pretend to be Jim Garrison, who was something of a pretender to begin with, you may not embrace the authenticity of the movie so much even while in the grip of it.
Around here, we note again that John F. Kennedy, who, on film, even with hard Boston accents landing like an Irish clog dancer on words at times, still looks like a man of our times, modern, pragmatic, inspiring and energetic. In the intervening years, we have learned and gotten to know all too much about JFK, the princely president and his family, not all of which is savory. It matters not—in all the times we have noted and remembered his presence at this time of the year in this publication, our lingering sadness at his absence has not wavered. He was in his own way a Georgetowner, in the sense that he lived here in his young man rising youth, his young husband years, his years of ambition pursued and his early young father years. In Georgetown, we felt the presence of the youthful man dashing ahead of himself to run for president, to woo, court and marry the young news reporter and aristocrat Jackie. It is here we caught him leaning on a balcony, thin and dashing as a boy, in white-t-shirt, thick hair. Here, in Georgetown, we can still catch our breath at a new and old sight of him in a television still or a magazine picture from those days.
The history that has been added on over the past 50 years is a family history—a telling of a clan both blessed and unduly burdened with loss and tragedy of the most public and reverberating kind. Watching the restored George Stevens, Jr.- produced documentary, “Years of Lightning, Day of Drums,” and seeing Ted, B o b b y and Jackie and John Jr. at the f u n e r a l c e r emonies is to note they are, like JFK, all gone too soon. All these memories, however, including dark knowledge, take nothing away from the John F. Kennedy that inspired us to action. That day 50 years ago is a kind of dark, muddled St. Crispin day for those of us who remember it clearly as young men and women, just starting out, biting back the tears. That’s especially true in our village where he served his time of knowing youth.