John F Kennedy’s Camelot

“Don’t let it be forgot that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment,  that was known as Camelot”

Jacqueline Kennedy

As we discussed in the previous article “JFK in the Context of His Times”, John took office in January 1961 and immediately stepped into a wicked spider’s nest of clandestine, self serving corporate vermin.

He could have played along, joined them.  It would have been easier. But this man had already demonstrated remarkable heroism when his boat was sliced in two by a Japanese war ship.  To sum up an extremely trying ordeal, he rescued all of the surviving crew though very badly injured himself.

“Kennedy was later awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroics in the rescue of the crew of PT 109, as well as the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained in the accident on the night of 1 August 1943.  An official account of the entire incident was written by intelligence officers in August 1943 and subsequently declassified in 1959. As President, Kennedy met once again with his rescuers and was toasted by members of the Japanese destroyer crew.”

In 1956, Kennedy published a book, “Profiles in Courage” in which he told the stories of  Senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs.  This man was an idealist through and through with a great core sense of personal responsibility.

Kennedy’s Camelot

King Arthur’s Mythical Camelot

It was clear from the very beginning that this was going to be a very different kind of presidency.  John Kennedy was forty three years old, a relatively young man at the time of his election. His wife, the elegant Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, was a woman of remarkable charm, poise, grace and taste.  Her sense of fashion set trends all over the world.  Charles De Gaulle, President of the French Republic, was utterly smitten with her, as was his nation.  After arriving there, in a speech, John had joked that he was “the man who had accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris”.   She was regarded as being quite intelligent and spoke French, Italian, Spanish and Polish.

Photos of Jacqueline continued to dominate magazine covers for many years after Jack’s death.  We just couldn’t bear to completely let go of them, so we clung to her.  We even clung to her after she married Aristotle Onassis,  though he seemed quite the troll to the rest of us.   And we kept on clinging until she died from chemotherapy in May of 1994.

Jacqueline was regal, she was stunning, and she was the closest thing that America has ever had to a queen.  Together, they hosted many White House dinners to which they invited the great artists and intellectuals of their time; poets, musicians, scientists authors.  Theirs was a beautiful kingdom and a gracious, magnanimous gift to all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Jack and Jackie

John F Kennedy’s Legacy

The Peace Corp-For those of you who have not heard of it, just look it up. John Kennedy started it and it is a magnificent gift to both young American students and the under served poor all over the world.

U.S. Space Program-We reached the moon with this program that Kennedy started

Vietnam War-John Kennedy was working on keeping us out of the conflict, insisting on a policy of sending military advisers only.  It was LBJ who committed us to full blown war

Civil Rights-John and his brother Bobby started the legislative process which LBJ, to his credit and Senatorial muscle, saw to completion.

Executive Order 11110-This order remains on the books, although after his death, was never enforced.  It abolishes the Federal Reserve Board and gives the power to print our currency back to the U.S. Treasury.  Bills with a red seal and no mention of the Federal Reserve were in circulation at the time of his death, but quickly disappeared after LBJ was sworn in as President.

The Cuban Missile Crisis-As described in a previous article, Kennedy made it go away.

Not bad for a scant 1,000 days

To hear audiotapes and to view video clips from the Kennedy presidency, go here: