From: Jack Todd (edited)
For my generation that moment, 50 years ago this coming Friday, was the fault line, our Pearl Harbor and 9/11 all rolled into one. There was the golden time before Kennedy was shot when all was possible — and there was the time after the assassination, when the world seemed a much darker and more uncertain place.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was my hero. I worshipped the man like no other person I have known, before or since.
As the son of New Deal Democrats, I would have supported Kennedy no matter what, but my fierce support for the man was sealed by a personal encounter long before he defeated Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.
During the Democratic primaries, Kennedy visited Nebraska. My grandfather, a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, took me to hear him speak. After the speech, Kennedy was led to a room at the back and my grandfather was one of those invited to meet the candidate. When the time came, he pushed me ahead.
Kennedy shook my hand, patted my shoulder, looked me in the eye (in that way gifted politicians have of making you feel that you are the only person in the room who matters) and said he hoped I would vote for him when I was old enough.
Vote? That was not nearly enough. I would have run through fire for the man.