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Lowell Cohn: When JFK died, so did the light

  • Press Democrat sports columnist Lowell Cohn. photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat

I think that we

Shall never more, at any future time

Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds

JFK's Assassination: 50 Years Later


Walking about the gardens and the halls

Of Camelot, as in the days that were.

— King Arthur's dying words from "Idylls of the King" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

I remember where I was when it happened. I was walking to class at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., when someone said JFK got shot. Just like that. I remember the early afternoon being bright and sunny, a Pennsylvania fall day, and I remember the clouds invading the sky. In a way, the clouds never left.

Kennedy represented the light. He was so young and he had new ideas and he was vital and handsome. You never forget how handsome he was. He glowed. With him we had endless possibilities. The world had endless possibilities. Everything was possible in his light.

There was a certain amount of myth with Kennedy. We know that now. He was learning on the job and he made a mess of the Bay of Pigs. There was that. But he found his gravitas in the Cuban Missile Crisis and, when Gov. George Wallace prevented black students from attending the University of Alabama, Kennedy pushed him aside. There was that, too.

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