Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Fifty years ago today on a sunny afternoon in Dallas, Texas the peace of our nation was shattered when our 35th president was gunned down in his motorcade. When the shots rang out and when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was pronounced dead just shortly thereafter, something in us died.

Our sense of peace. Our sense of security. Our sense of strength.


More alarming was that it was the height of the cold war. The president was murdered in cold blood and for those who can remember that day a terrible bit of evil touched our hearts.  November 22, 1963 was a day America will not soon forget.  We grieved as a nation. Political affiliation, nor race, nor gender mattered. The loss impacted all and the sorrow cut across all social strata.

It shouldn’t take a tragic death to bring us together.  As we reflect on the tragedy, and surmise our current social condition, let’s not look at what divides us as Americans, but rather what unites us. Let’s ask not what others might do for us but rather ask what we can do to make ours a better place. I’d venture to say that JFK and his legacy would be honored if we thought this way.