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45 years ago, Pres. Kennedy died in Dallas

PHILADELPHIA ? As the country prepares for the presidency of Barack Obama, viscerally, at least, echoes of JFK are unavoidable.

The youth, the passing of the generational torch, the cool style, the culturally liberating presence of a writer-intellectual, the beguiling kids, the instantly iconic wife, the adoration of the world.

Especially this weekend ? with the 45th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination, a date normally suffused with the futility of tragedy ? many Americans have a palpable sense that something taken from the nation has been reclaimed.

"It took a long time, but we got it back," said Bruce Kuklick, a University of Pennsylvania historian of the 20th century, who was 12 in 1963.

Each year at this time, he said, he tries to explain to his three sons just how much it all meant to him, and how much was lost.


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