JFK Legacy


To the Editors of the Crimson:

I was outraged by Brian Hecht's description of the observation of the 25th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination ("Citizen's Recall JFK Death," November 23.) His depiction of Kennedy School students obliviously carrying on "as usual" unmindful of that somber date is inaccurate and misleading. More than that, it is an insult to the entire Kennedy School community.

Had he arrived around noon, he could have shared with the almost 200 Kennedy School students, staff, faculty and friends (slightly more than a handful, Mr. Hecht) the short simple ceremony held in front of the fountain in JFK Park. He could have heard Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes' inspirational message that rather than eulogizing President John F. Kennedy '40, we should each continue to work towards those ideals that he personified during his life.

He could have shared that brief moment of silence and reflection, that if just for one minute, made us all members of the same family. And finally, he could have walked away with that special feeling that comes with the awareness that there will always be a small piece of John Kennedy in all of us.

Mr. Hecht came looking for a tribute to a great man. He found an empty windswept park, a bunch of flowers and a stone fountain. Mr. Hecht, you were looking in the wrong place. Tributes to a great man are not found in statues, or parks or eternal flames. They are not found in TV specials, films or books. They are found in the hearts of people inspired by his greatness; by people determined to carry on the work he began.


I am one of those people, Mr. Hecht, and so are those "countless streams" of students you saw rushing by, and the staff and the faculty. Public servants who believe, as President Kennedy did, that we can "make a differnce" and that we have an obligation to our fellow man to try. And we are mindful not one day, but every day we are here, that we are a living tribute to everything John Kennedy stood for.

So Mr. Hecht, if you are looking for a quiet place to eat your lunch, reach a newspaper or kick a soccer ball, I highly recommend JFK Memorial Park. If you are looking for a tribute to a great man, enter the large red building to your front and learn something. Charles W. Hooper, KSG