"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
, John F. Kennedy
There it was, that familiar face that your heart goes out to every time you see it. As his lips moved and his golden words were spoken, I realized how happy I was to be there.
There we were, we four teachers and thirty-six students, watching every move he made in awe. No one spoke for the entire twenty-minute film. Who would have thought that after a tedious four-and-a-half-hour bus ride, we wouldn't have been more rambunctious. There was a reason why no words were spoken, bodies didn't move, and eyes didn't stray from the big screen surrounded by black walls ...
He was the reason.
As soon as the film was completed, I realized how little I actually knew about this phenomenal man. To me, all I knew was of his presidency, assassination, and the tiny scandals in-between. I then realized that I knew only what the media wanted me to know. However, after my experience there, I formed my own opinion.
Why was it that I was never informed of the true family man he was? How he found time to play frisbee with his brothers in their backyard? Or how he looked up to his father and wanted to follow in his footsteps? Honestly, as I walked through the White House-looking rooms, thoughts of utmost respect and sorrow raced through my mind. Somehow the little so-called scandals were totally insignificant. When you become a loved political figure like him, scandals unfortunately come with the territory. It is so common that it still happens today. Does the name Gennifer Flowers ring a bell?
Anyway, the conclusion of my first visit to the JFK Library in Boston was somehow the most touching. At this point in our journey to this enormous museum, we viewed a film about his background in Massachusetts and his gradual steps in becoming one of America's most loved presidents. The rooms were filled with short videos, posters, and even presents given to him by other countries, pure symbols of their admiration, which was shared by all. The end, however, made my eyes watery.
It was a dark, narrow corridor with a wall, a long black wall with about ten scattered televisions - all different sizes. However, they all ran the same message. It was the original broadcast of Kennedy's assassination. It showed the footage and the newscaster who was so upset he could hardly report the disaster.
Some of us sat while others stood, but all our eyes were glued to the screen as the message repeated over ... and over. Soon we were all writing - we were touched, inspired, yet full of grief.
We had learned so much about this man and how extraordinary he was. It was unthinkable for someone to kill him. Whoever took it upon themselves to murder one of the best men who ever lived is still a mystery. However, with books, television, and libraries like this in Boston, John F. Kennedy will continue to inspire us and will be honored always. c
"A man may die, nations may rise and fall,
but an idea lives on." - J.F.K.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.