Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's Assassination

President John F. Kennedy in his desk in the White House
Photo courtesy:

It was November 22, 1963. Fifty years ago on this day President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, popularly known as President John F. Kennedy or President Kennedy, was assassinated on a visit to Dallas in Texas, USA. He was the 35th president of the United States of America and the first ever a Roman Catholic holding this position. 

On this fateful day I was a seminarian at the Little Flower Minor Seminary at Bandura of Dhaka District, East Pakistan (latter called Bangladesh), studying in grade (class) ten at the nearby Holy Cross High School. Most of us knew of President Kennedy since his election in 1960 as his news would get wide publicity all over the world. We felt close to him as he was a Catholic. We felt proud of him as he was an exuberant, youthful and lively person coming up with new ideas and programmes for the USA. His sudden death stunned us, we could not believe such a person could be a victim to assassination. Like many others all over the world, we wept profusely and felt empty in our hearts. The seminary rector and vice rector comforted us all.  

Some of the seminarians, including me, knew more of President Kennedy as we were used to reading the weekly TIME magazine. In 1960, Father Leo J. Sullivan, CSC, was the seminary rector, who used to receive the TIME magazine regularly. After his reading he used to place this magazine in his waste paper basket for disposal. Some of us would collect it regularly for our reading and expansion of knowledge. We would compete and test our knowledge on world affairs and general knowledge. Michael Gomes of (of St. Michael’s Engineering) at Tejgaon, Dhaka, and I would be the ones who would do it on regular basis. Through this magazine, we had come to know a lot about the Kennedy family – how their strictly Catholic mother raised her brood of children inculcating Catholic teachings, how she used to place news clippings on a board in the house for her sons and daughters to be knowledgeable about politics, world affairs, religion and so on, how his father was the ambassador in the U.K. and made a lot o money as a businessman, and how President Kennedy studied in choice schools and university, and how he was hurt in the back when serving in the US Marine during the World War II. As a result, we felt an affinity with him and were eager to see him get elected. We were elated at his winning as the President of the United States. 

After being the President, his positive and proactive actions, like forming of the Peace Corps, his support to the civil rights movement by sending in National Guards during anti-black riots in the southern states, his ultimatum to the Soviet Union to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba, a plan to limit the war in Vietnam, and the like made him more popular to us. However, some people, including those in the US government, were not happy with his plans and actions. Mind you, some Americans were not happy with him as he was a Roman Catholic. They could not trust him fully. 

Even being in another country, we never believed in the Warren Commission Report that a lone gunman was the only person to plan and kill this President. Our gut feeling was that some powerful persons were behind this killing and they shrewdly removed all evidences of a plot. Later, his younger brother, who wanted to be a president, was assassinated as well. If there were no such plot to remove the Kennedys once for all, both the brothers could not have been killed in a similar fashion.

Although his extramarital affairs had diminished his image a bit with us, still we had a great regard for him for his public work. 

Through his untimely death, President John F. Kennedy became more alive in the hearts of men and women in the USA as well as in the world.

To know more about President John F. Kennedy and see his photos, you may access the following:

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