President Kennedy was killed when I was only six-months old. I have no memory of a living Jack Kennedy, but that does not mean he was not a major force in my life.
Growing up in an Irish-Catholic family in New England in this era, his presence was felt in the photographs, busts and even night-lights people had of him in their homes. I joked that during that era, the Catholic Holy Trinity consisted of God the Father, Jesus his Son and JFK.
But the reverence was not just of the Irish-Catholic icon who won the White House, it was of the charismatic leader who inspired a nation to be bold and for each of us to make a difference in this world. It was this inspiration that first led me to get involved in politics at the age of 15, with my second campaign being his brother Ted’s unsuccessful Presidential run.
In the last year of his life, President Kennedy said
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.
The ideas and words of President echo today not just in the halls of Washington, but throughout the world. It is because of these ideas and the works of all those who have pursued public service inspired by him and his brothers, that President Kennedy remains very relevant today.
This is especially true when the current occupant of his last home, embodies his comment that “too often we… enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”