50 years on and the legend of JFK still endures.
The assassination of the 35th President of the United States on the 22nd November 1963 shocked the world and soon became an event to define a generation. Fifty years on and this week the world is still pausing to remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
JFK was an embodiment of the Legend of The Wild Geese. His great grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, left Co. Wexford, Ireland in 1848, bound for Boston MA, where he would establish one of America’s most prominent and influential families.
During is campaign for the presidency, JFK took part in the first televised presidential debate in US history opposite Richard Nixon. It was here where he put a face to politics. And not just any fce. A charming and friendly face, who delivered answers in a relaxed and confident manner. The battle for the presidency was tough, but in 1961 JFK was sworn in.
His personality continued to shine through and he and his wife Jacquline soon became celebrity figures and helped to raise the status of the arts in America. Kennedy also embraced the rise of television and used it to address the nation live, reaching millions to announce to discuss important issues.
Although he rose to one of the world’s most powerful positions, JFK kept Ireland close to his heart. Five months before his assassination, the president visited Ireland where he met cousins and explored his ancestral home. Ireland remained in his thoughts and he was planning a private family trip, away from the photography and publicity of his State visit, which would give him time to learn about his ancestry and engage in the Irish experience.
It was in Ireland that he witnessed the Irish Army cadets’ drill, which he described as a highlight of the trip and ‘the finest honour guard’ he’d ever seen. So impressed and moved was Kennedy that his wife arranged for them to perform at his funeral.
Ireland continues to remember JFK fondly. His charm and friendly manner shone through during his trip. He still serves as an example of the success Wild Geese in the world can achieve and that anything is possible.
This week Barack Obama paid tribute to JFK:
‘This is a legacy of a man who could have retreated to a life of luxury and ease, but he chose to live a life in the arena, sailing sometimes against the wind, sometimes with it’
Like Patrick Sarsfield and The Wild Geese, his legend echoes through the ages. The flame of ambition and hope JFK lit is still burning bright.