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Don’t Let It Be Forgot

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Don’t Let It Be Forgot

Saturday, June 22, 1961

Hanging over the balcony rail of New York’s Majestic Theater was an almost 12-year-old girl falling deeply, passionately in love for the very first time. Tales of the brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson were juvenile; belief in tooth-hoarding pixies, egg-gifting rabbits and jolly old men who performed miracles on 34th Street had long departed, but what unfolded before her eyes rekindled an innocent longing for magic and faeries, romance and idealism. Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet transported her to Camelot, a kingdom where there was “simply not a more convenient spot for happily-ever-aftering…”

It wasn’t the marvelous Lerner and Lowe musical score, exquisite costumes or acting abilities of the award-winning cast (although it did give me a lifelong-crush on the inimical, gone-too-soon Burton) that captured my heart. It was the persuasion and promise of the theatrical premise. Maybe Camelot, a world where right took precedent over might, where shared at a round table with no ONE individual claiming totalitarian authority, social differences could be peacefully resolved by communication was not just a pretty pipe dream. Maybe it could really happen.

That possibility became more of a reality when in late 1960, the office of U.S. President was about to be vacated by battle-weary and war-beleaguered General Dwight David Eisenhower. In a national election that the American public could easily follow – and was totally befuddled by – via newsprint, radio AND television, we young people watched a youthful, charismatic, charming fellow narrowly defeat a dour, middle-aged man who seemed to us a mere extension of the same old-same old.

At the age of 43, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, beating Republican Richard Nixon by only 115,000 votes, took the oath of office as the 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961.

Next: We listened and heeded the words of our own “King Arthur,” when his inaugural speech staunchly challenged us…

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36 comments

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9:54PM PDT on Oct 17, 2013

thanks

8:59PM PDT on May 28, 2013

Thanks for the flashback!

11:36AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

Thanks!~

11:35AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

Thanks!~

11:35AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

Thanks!~

5:18PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

cool

1:14PM PDT on Sep 6, 2010

" Thanks for the article. I was eight when MLK and RFK were murdered and I remember it like yesterday. I was at a Swiss Catholic school (Marie-Jose, in Gstaad) and our redoubtable French Headmistress Madame Racine (a refugee survivor of WWII) rang the silver bell at the daily luncheon, invoking our patron saints and leading us in memorial prayer. I remember most people around the world, not just Americans, were in mourning after these events. I still find it unbelievable all these years later, that in 5 short years America could have lost 3 such people. I don't believe we have ever recovered from it; we have grown around and beyond it and moved on, but the memory is still fresh and devastating - like losing a loved one."

Believe it or not I as well sat at the same table with Madame Racine, " l´Ange Bleu " and a a good friend called George Morton at the time .

Best regards,
Eric Ertman

12:50PM PDT on Sep 6, 2010

@ Jonathan Y.

Believe it or not I as well sat at the same table with Madame Racine, " l´Ange Bleu " and a a good friend called George Morton at the time .

Best regards,
Eric Ertman

1:27PM PST on Mar 7, 2010

I'm posting this because the presentation of the U.S. national Republican Party brings out historical memory. Michael Moore
gives left handed praise for the republicans because of their ingenuity and for their staunchness but I have a different take on our slide down from the days of Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The ingenuity and staunchness of Republicans is more like that
of the early twentieth Century Hohenzollerns of Europe than anything else. It is their ancient and Antidiluvian conviction of their entitlement to rule to the extent that they taught that it was even immoral to merely dislike Kaiser Wilhelm II.

10:34AM PST on Mar 7, 2010

Janet, what a great and inspiring article! You brought back my old memories from an age past, maybe it was Camelot!

I re-remember the day that JFK died! I was 12 at the Lemon Grove Jr. High, CA! It came as a shock on the school's PA system. I do not think I cried! In those days boys did NOT cry! A few of the boys were glad! I was mad at the assassin and also at those boys that I found immature! Life seemed simpler in those days before Nov. 23rd, '63. But America's slow and unrelenting descent continues through this day! The useless bickering in Congress always according to party lines only enforces this descent and shows to the World the pettiness of the United States! The only actual beacon of light is Barack Obama! And being only human, he stumbles sometimes in pursuing his/our goals!

Thanks again for that lovely article! It is warming to know that people like you exist in our generation!

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