On the forty-fifth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy it is fitting to recall the commencement address he made at American University on June 10, 1963. Listening to that speech on NPR last night I was taken with how much can be applied to today’s world problems. In particular he pointed out that it is not paramount that we love our neighbors. Tolerating our neighbors would suffice. The suspicion with which we view one another must be replaced with tolerance. Kennedy also took this country to task when he said that the peace that we seek is “not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war”. Both objectives have escaped us over the years. Someone must carry the banner that Kennedy unfurled. Could it be that Barack Obama will be that leader? Let us pray that if he takes up the challenge, and he should, we will not see another November 22, 1963.
( As an aside, in Kennedy’s American University address he mentioned that “everyone knows that the United States would not start a war”. Unfortunately, after Iraq this is a claim we can no longer make.)