John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, Kennedys Museum, Berlin
I was looking up some Kennedy quotes today for a reason entirely unrelated to the 50th anniversary of his death. And as I read them, I realized why so many people were moved so deeply when he died.
We don't know what would have happened if he had lived, of course. It's certain he'd have been a more controversial figure than he became through his too-early death. Yet I read these quotes, and I wonder...
The mystery of his death is not how he died, but who he would have become, what he would have made of his opportunity.
"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
I wish he'd lived to see the events of this last year, this last decade.
And I wish he'd lived to see man walk on the moon:
"In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there."
Clilmate change was unheard of, yet Kennedy would have known immediately that it affected us all:
"For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."
We lost so much on that day, most importantly, the future we all would have had if he'd lived:
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
Not always, Mr. President.
The photo above was taken at the Kennedy Museum in Berlin when I visited in 2009.