The 1960s were tumultuous, not unlike the world that Millennials and current generations inhabit. The loss of America’s 35th President, John F. Kennedy, remains a mark on our country 50 years to the day of his death. As Millennials faced a defining moment in 2001, many of our parents can recall with a clarity undimmed by the passage of time where they were as the news spread across the world. In a way, Kennedy embraced ideals that Millennials hold close, and as we remember his legacy today, let us pay respect where respect is due.
Kennedy was a tech guru of his day. We may have better TVs and cameras today, but mastering a new medium like television proved to be one important tool in achieving success. We should note that his family connections and influence did play a helping role in later success, but Kennedy’s mastery of message and appearance was unsurpassed, if seldom matched. We only need to look at those in the spotlights today to see what a mismanaged image can cause.
Kennedy’s focus on discussion and communication most likely helped him achieve the presidency when addressing the concerns of people who would not vote for him; this was especially effective as he related his religious beliefs, but showed his dedication to serve all Americans regardless of religious beliefs. Many Millennials understand that there will be different perspectives and opinions, but it doesn’t mean we can’t find some common ground.
Millennials have seen some profound changes since the 1980s, and Kennedy was no stranger to major events like the Great Depression and multiple wars. He learned from these challenging times and found a way to persevere, a quality which Millennials will need to overcome our own challenges. Kennedy’s adaptability is a message for a generations as it will be our path to success. Without pushing for things currently beyond our reach, how could we have achieved the profound advances we have today? We must understand our past to assess our future, and we must always strive beyond our current means of understanding.
Today we solemnly remember a man who served. He had successes and flaws as all people do, but his contribution and his passing have given him a seat in the American pantheon. Like the word’s said of President Lincoln’s last breath, John F. Kennedy, “belongs to the ages now.” As we move to the year 2020, we will mark anniversaries and losses of great leaders from the 1960s, but their passing will not be in vain if we can live their messages. Gen Y inherited the optimism and the challenges of our predecessors, and we must continue the journey.
Share your perspective on Kennedy’s legacy. How can Millennials learn from him to help the world around us? Comment here and keep the story going.