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Keep Kennedy spirit thriving to honor him

Few moments mark our lives forever. Most of those are among life’s big three — marriages, deaths and births.

While most of us can find commonality in similar such life situations, it is truly rare when the entire nation shares a common, life-marking event.

Fifty years ago today America had just such an event. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was one of several events — Pearl Harbor and Sept. 11 among them — that shocked the country into a collective pause.

Kennedy’s death, like so many such tragedies, took the country completely by surprise.

The subsequent investigation and the conspiracy theories that still swirl to this day are captivating, intriguing and saddening all at the same time.

As America mourns the loss of its youngest president elected to office, the nation should also pause and reflect on Kennedy’s mission.

In his 1961 inaugural address Kennedy said, in part:

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe — the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. … So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

As we recall the shock and horror of the man’s tragic death, let us also remember the man’s public goals and dreams.

If we only focus on Kennedy’s death, his killer succeeds in changing the focus from Kennedy’s good aspirations. Keeping those goals alive and making them come true would be a fitting tribute to Kennedy.