I wanted to share with your readers some thoughts as we approach the 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination this Friday.
The anniversary specials being broadcast this year are much more complete revealing his severe health problems now that most of his medical records have been released. He had always been in pain since his 1955 back surgery and faced physical disabilities or an early death with his Addison’s disease and even his treatments, including amphetamines and other addictive narcotics. So JFK was a man in a hurry when he ran for president in 1960 knowing he had little time to make his mark on our society.
He challenged us to uphold our nation’s promise as a land of opportunity in which each of us is entrusted to do our part. He also showcased our country as a model for excellence in the achievements he had us embark.
Ironically, his outward appearance and “vigor” he espoused masked the true nature of his ill health which he valiantly disregarded. Sadly, in today’s climate of naysayers, ideologues and 24-hour news cycles, he probably wouldn’t have been elected.
However, we still don’t have anyone today who would measure up to his standard for leadership which I spoke about in my seminars for lawyers this year.
“A leader is measured,” he wrote in his book “Profiles in Courage,” “by his ability to favor unpopular causes for the good of the people.”
In the White House Thursday morning, President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom (reinvented during JFK’s years there) on 16 new recipients. I think President Kennedy was there in spirit flashing his famous Irish grin and knowing we go on but all the better because of him.