Editorial: 50 years

Whether it was one bullet or two, a lone gunman or a conspiracy, there is one indisputable fact about Nov. 22, 1963. The president — John F. Kennedy — was killed and it was an event that rocked the world then and continues to be a source of controversy to this day.

When we think how times have changed, in many ways they have changed very little. The Bulletin’s issue of Nov. 26, 1963, carried an editorial on the president’s death, a portion of which is quoted here. It is as true today as it was then.

“Hatred pulled that trigger today. Hatred stunned the world with shock and disbelief — hatred which could gain nothing for itself by this evil deed, but could only deprive a good man of the breath of life and deprive the world of a great statesman and humanitarian. Perhaps all mankind has been shocked into a realization of the enormity of the price we have had to pay for the luxury of allowing hate to run rampant in the world.

“Perhaps the hate peddlers — those who would shun assassination but who nevertheless sow its seeds in the minds of fanatics — have been made aware of hate’s ultimate harvest.

“The tragedy and the hope is that hatred cannot realize that though it kills the man, it cannot kill the principles he represents.”

With each passing year Kennedy’s death recedes further into history, as for many it is an event to be studied in school or the subject of books and films, just as other momentous events recede as those who witnessed them leave this earth.

However, the assassination of JFK sits more prominently in our collective memory than do those of William McKinley or James Garfield, largely because of the media presence that seemed to emerge over those four days in 1963. As Mrs. Reginald Squires of Georgetown said in recalling the McKinley assassination, the world was larger then. By 1963 radio and television had brought the world together. Today it is smaller still.

Still, the yellowed pages of The Bulletin remind us, just as the black-and-white flickering images do, of a dark and sad time in our national past.