Re "Seeking answers in JFK's assassination," Nov. 22
Watching the proliferation of media commemorations of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, I considered for the first time that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald was only 24 years old, younger than my own son. I sadly realized that in 50 years, one fact has not changed: Mentally unstable young men are still murdering innocent people.
So many baby boomers remember Dallas as if it were yesterday. In today's world, another fleeting cry would have gone out for stronger gun laws. No such clamor followed JFK's death, only a 50-year string of conspiracy theories that refuse to accept the impossible idea that one seriously disturbed young man with a gun was able to end the life of the most powerful person in the world then.
Just as the Kennedy family helped to bring "special" citizens into mainstream society, today Americans should support better mental health care and foster an attitude of acceptance within our national consciousness. Perhaps the greatest memorial we could leave to the young president who gave his life in service to his country is to recognize that the young unstable man who killed him and those who followed might have been less likely to act had they had more opportunities to receive help.
Nanci Fredericks Hoban
I will never forget the moment I stepped out of my American history class and heard the announcement over the public address system that Kennedy had been killed in Dallas.
To this day I feel sadness when I remember that day. We the people may never fully know what happened 50 years ago.
I sit here and mourn the loss of this courageous war hero, husband, father and president.
Yes, Kennedy embraced the civil rights movement. Yes, he made some errors, both personally and as president, while in office. His true legacy, however, is in the memory of a man who could have had a more profound impact on the world. Alas, he was cut down before we could witness what else he might have accomplished as a statesman.
It was Nov. 22, 1963, around 2 p.m. in Boston when I was hastily excused from school without explanation. During my walk home, bells began to toll; countless towers sounded that something was awry.
It seemed so bizarre until I arrived home to learn from my Irish Catholic mother that the world had changed forever.
On the day of the JFK assassination, an announcement was made about it over my high school's public address system. I called my mother from the administration office phone. She harshly criticized me for telling such a bad and tasteless joke.
I was disappointed that my mother didn't believe me, as I would never joke about something so serious.
Kenneth L. Zimmerman
I used to travel abroad a lot in the 1970s, and I always took a pocketful of JFK half-dollars to pass out to children, who loved them. But in later years, children didn't know why I bothered.
So it's left to us, who were alive on Nov. 22, 1963, to feel the tragedy of that day.
Isla Vista, Calif.
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