My grandma, and all the other ladies in Ireland that I visited when I was young, had two pictures on the dresser. One of the Pope and one of President John F. Kennedy. JFK was the epitome of dreams come true for the Irish. His grandpa scraped together the four pounds he needed to sail across the Atlantic at a time when many of the windows of businesses in the new country held signs that said, “Irish Need Not Apply.”
Who could have known that the grandson of that man would go on to become the first Irish Catholic President of the most powerful country in the world?
Was JFK perfect? Let the most perfect among us answer that question. Was he a game-changer? He most definitely was. He fought for civil rights and championed those with disabilities, he helped get a man to the moon, he supported the arts, he kept peace during the Cold War, and he helped inspire the creation of the Peace Corps.
He delivered countless epic speeches that moved people. He said, “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” And he reminded us that, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
This week JFK would have turned 100 years old. It made me think of how long he’s been gone and how young he was when he was taken. He was a leader who inspired people and made them believe anything is possible. Everyone alive at the time remembers where they were when JFK died. Sadness cloaked the world.
May we remember the lesson JFK shared when he said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” And may we always know that we are the change that we seek, as JFK once so famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. “