The death of a man like John F. Kennedy, whose sincerity and exuberance gave many of us cause for new optimism about the future, evokes a strong desire to preserve his memory.
To name new things after Kennedy is proper. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will be a fitting memorial to a President who encouraged serious intellectual pursuits. Little could be more consonant with the spirit of the man than to use his memory as impetus to new, worthwhile undertakings.
But to attach his name to the already established nearly mocks him. It also removes from our vocabulary curious, colorful words. "Cape Canaveral" was a beautiful name with a fascinating history; "Idlewild" was a splendid name for New York's international airport. "Cape Kennedy" and "Kennedy Airport" bear no real relation to the late President, and are by contrast gray and lifeless.
A further proliferation of things called Kennedy is inevitable. One hopes, however, that those intent on establishing memorials will not impoverish the language whose luxuriance Kennedy loved, but will be inspired to new undertakings.