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TEXAS FAITH 117: Why does the nation still pause 50 years after JFK’s death?

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

At the end of this week, Americans will pause to observe the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death. We in Dallas particularly will be in the middle of the observation. The assassination, of course, happened here. And Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings has put together a gathering at Dealey Plaza to commemorate the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

Earlier, this panel discussed the impact John Kennedy had on Catholicism. Let’s now look at the Kennedy impact in another way.

Why is it that the nation still pauses 50 years after his death?

The country has never really looked back on the assassination of any our other leaders, except perhaps that of Abraham Lincoln. So, is this just part of the Kennedy mystique?

Or does this national moment of reflection say something about an innate human need to have princes we look up to, even if the scriptures warn against putting one’s faith in princes?

Or are we pausing because we still wonder what might have happened if an assassin’s bullet had not put the country on a different course?

Or was it only one assassin? I think so, but the open question for some creates a giant sense of mystery around his death. Is that why we keep focusing on November 22? Does the mystery draw us in?

Or do we stop to reflect because he was having an impact on the country that was suddenly aborted?

Or here’s one more thought: Is November 22 now mostly a media creation?

Obviously, there are many different angles here. And there are many more. But from your perspective:Why does the nation still pause 50 years after John Kennedy’s assassination?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

We are surprised that the thief known as Death does not discriminate. One may have the best medicine and doctor but that does not guarantee safety. Nor is there such a guarantee for a child of loving, protective parents. Nor can the man on the sturdiest boat be assured of his safety.

When death comes, the Secret Service will not be able to shoot him, nor will one's guard dogs bark him away. It doesn't matter how much organic food or vitamins you take. Nor does it matter how much you jog. Whether you are the president or the Pope, Death is still an equal opportunity employer. Those with spiritual wisdom do not fear death. They understand it as simply a change of dress.

This weekend I performed the funeral of a 19 year-old girl. This was a strong reminder of the most surprising thing in this world. We have seen others before us pass away but none of us really think death will happen to us.

Rejection of death actually hints to the nature of the self. We do not want to die because the very notion of it is unnatural. Why? Because the self is eternal, so the notion of death goes against our very nature.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.