Letters to the Editor (11/21/13)
Recognizing Kennedy’s work
The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be commemorated on Nov. 22.
This year has been one of reflection and memories for my generation, especially those who, in their own way, continued the legacy set by President Kennedy. He was young and a visionary with his new frontier.
Kennedy moved ahead with the Peace Corps and most of his recruits were idealistic, young college-age people who went off to foreign lands to help people help themselves in economics, trades, education, health care and agriculture to stem the tide and attraction of communism in Third World countries.
After the Russians launched Yuri Gagarin into orbit, Kennedy, always the competitor, said America will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
When Fidel Castro challenged Kennedy by allowing the Soviet Union to put nuclear missiles in Cuba, Kennedy challenged Castro and Krueschev to remove the missiles from Cuba with a blockade and was victorious.
For more than 100 years, your Black citizens were treated as third-class citizens. Following the lead of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Kennedy embraced the Civil Rights Movement by protecting their activists with federal troops and legislation.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, of Georgia, a noted Freedom Fighter for Civil Rights, said, “President Kennedy ushered in a sense of hope, a sense of optimism. He have us the sense that we could do things, we could go the distance.”
Those of us who were born in the early part of the Baby Boom (1946-1952), we have fond memories of Kennedy. He inspired us to focus on what we could do for our country, but especially our countrymen and people around the world.
We joined the Peace Corps, the military for the freedom fight in Vietnam, the labor movement to fight for workers rights. We also fought against the fascist practice of apartheid in South Africa and won that fight without firing a shot.
We fought against the communists and Lech Walesa in Poland. We won that fight without firing a shot. We supplied El Salvador Freedom Fighters against the Reagan-supported fascist Contras and won that fight without a shot.
President Barack Obama has inherited the mantle of President John F. Kennedy. Sen. Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama because of his similarities to JFK.
Obama hasn’t let us down. He nailed Osama bin Laden with Navy Seals. He also signed the Affordable Health Care Act that will afford health care to 30 million Americans. For the first time in 50 years, I am proud of our president.
Friday, Nov. 22, is the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death.
At that time, I was a sophomore at Belen High School. Back then, the school had open campus and we could go eat lunch in town.
My friends and I used to eat at Jennie’s, a little shop on Belen’s South Main Street. For 15 cents, I could get me a small glass of coke and a 5 cent bag of potato chips. If I was lucky and had an extra nickel, I could also get me a candy bar.
Anyhow, we were at our usual place having lunch, but when we got back to school, everyone was standing at the steps of the school waiting to get back into class. But as we got closer, I noticed that something was wrong. Everyone was upset and crying as they listened to their transistor radios about the assassination of their beloved president.
My own father had just passed away a week before, and back then when people were mourning, they couldn’t listen to music or watch TV. But we watched President Kennedy’s funeral.
It was a sad time that I’ll always remember.
Veterans Day is important
Well, we just went through another gala celebration of Veterans Day. It was the usual: parades and patriotic music and boiler-plate speeches by boring dignitaries trying to emulate what real and sincere orators have previously espoused. Beyond this, it was just another day in the list of holidays observed by Americans as per congressional decree.
Practically everybody, I assume, that lives in this country is, to some degree, familiar with Veterans Day. Sadly, some only know of Veterans Day because, generally, it’s a day off from work, period! They have no intimate understanding of the day’s true meaning, why it exists or who or what the day commemorates.
My pet peeve is ignorant adults who reap the rewards of living in a free and democratic nation and, who have little or no appreciation for the historical facts that explain why they are able to enjoy these fruits. Third-graders are more informed. These adults are the primary target of this letter.
It is truly a sad commentary on America when we see so many adults, especially politicians, who never served, only react to Veterans Day when it is convenient or politically expedient, i.e., President Obama, Gov. Martinez, U.S. Rep. Lujan-Grisham as well as many other national, state and local government elected officials.
But, it isn’t only politicians. I get particularly irritated with adults who knowingly and maliciously take actions that infringe on a person’s constitutional rights, the very rights veterans served to protect. And, to add insult to injury, many get away with it even when the injury inflicted goes through the judicial system; a flawed system at best designed to take care of the wealthy who can personally or through a third party afford legal representation no matter the cost. To hell with constitutional rights!
And the list goes on regarding ignorant adults who have little or no respect for Veterans Day amongst other days for paying tribute to those who protect us and our way of life.
Be that as it may; I remind you that Veterans Day has significance beyond a day off from work. We enjoy our freedoms because many men and women had the courage to serve in combat or non-combat related military occupations in order to keep the country strong and free and to strengthen our constitutional rights. Let us not forget this!
Thank a veteran for his or her service and pray for all those who lost their lives protecting us and the country! Above all, educate yourself as to the true meaning of what started out as Armistice Day and commit to living more respectful and humble lives. It is true that “freedom is not free!”