Friday, November 22, 2013

There are some things that are so important that they make an impact, even at an early age. I was 5 years old and I was playing with my toys while my mama was in the kitchen. I saw the news come on the TV and I called her...We sat together on the sofa and prayed for the president's family and for our nation.

Next thing I knew, my sisters were home from school - released early. Everyone had been crying. I wanted to cry, too. I liked this president. As a little girl, I knew that he smiled a lot, his wife was pretty, and he had kids that were close to my age. His daughter even had a pony, and since I did too, I felt connected to her.
Now her daddy was dead and that made me very sad.

The next few days all I recall is that the news was on a lot more than usual, although we always watched Walter Cronkite. Once I even saw a man shoot another man as he walked through a hallway. Later I realized I saw Ruby shoot Oswald. Wow.

I remember the funeral. School was out again and we all watched it. It was sad and beautiful and important. And very American. The caisson with the flag-draped casket. The riderless horse. And the little boy saluting his father. These are the first images of a sad America for one little girl. Now we have another generation with its own sad images. Planes tilting at eerie degrees and aiming for destruction. People running from giant buildings that are about to collapse.

These are our sad American memories. But think about the ones generations before us-
Children asleep in their beds suddenly awakened by the intrusion of natives bent on reclaiming their land and seizing and killing everything in their path in order to do it. Sad, scared children.
Fathers leaving their families to fight a war against a king, leaving the women and children to fare as best they could, so in the end, they would have a better life - and true freedom. All they knew is that it was sad.
Our own nation fighting against itself for a way of life that was at the same time evil and necessary, depending on whose life it was. Disease, poverty, and bitterness grew out of this war and to some degree we are still fighting it.

Sad American memories became global over the next several years-- thoughts of foxholes and air battles. New kinds of evil that threatened the American ideals. But that didn't matter to the little boys and girls whose dads - and moms- weren't there to tuck them in. It was just sad.

So as we remember this Kennedy family who gave up four sons to this nation (one killed in action, two assassinated, and one a life-long public servant) let us also remember the rest of us who were forever changed because of the evil shown to us at an early age. In its truest sense, may God bless America. 

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