The Last Idealist

One-hundred years ago today. May 29th, 1917. Forty-one years before I was born, he was. In a Boston suburb of Brookline, Massachusetts to his parents, Joe and Rose. He was the second son of a rising Irish-Catholic upper middle class, politically connected, family. So many words have been written about him that I won’t waste my time going over the hagiography over John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s life and death.

Today, had he lived, he would have been 100. But that’s not why I’m writing this. Nor am I going to write about his life, warts and all, because they have been written about so many other times, by writers far, far better than me.

No, I am going to write about what this man represents, the challenge that seems to have been forgotten since his assassination in 1963. His idealism, borne out of his own experiences, drove him to challenge us — to go to the moon, explore space, service others less fortunate then us, become a part of the wider-world — all inspired us to do that.

Think about the 10 Presidents who’ve followed him. What have they done to inspire us? Not much, really. To inspire the world? Hardly. Kennedy was many things, but he, and, to a lesser extent, his brothers, Robert and Teddy, inspired us to be something, even for a short period of time, greater than ourselves. That is what JFK should be remembered for, not the abrupt way his life ended.

*Originally posted at


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