Sign of the Times

by Thomas Pace on November 22, 2013

Today marks fifty years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  It’s amazing how it still captures the imagination of our society even after being inexhaustibly explored from seemingly every angle possible.

The 1960’s in America are often described as a “turbulent” time.  Political assassinations, Vietnam and the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the cold war.  Sounds pretty fucking turbulent to me.  They say Kennedy’s murder was the end of the innocence.

I can’t really relate to that though.  I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s.

I remember the Iran hostages.

When Reagan was shot I was on the playground at Crestview Elementary in Clive, Iowa and heard some of the older kids talking about it.  Of course, he didn’t die, and of course, he wasn’t JFK.  I would guess that many people born in the 80’s and 90’s couldn’t even tell you whom John Hinckley Jr. is.

I remember when Mount St. Helen exploded and when the Space Shuttle Challenger did the same.  I remember when the Berlin Wall came down and when the Soviet Union fell.

I remember how grand the 90’s were.  They often call it a “time of economic prosperity.”  Not exactly an age of innocence reborn, but certainly a boom.  A time in which the problems that captured our attention now seem trite when compared to something like a presidential assassination or a clusterfuck like Vietnam.

The Gulf War (the first), The attacks on the World Trade Center (the first), the LA riots, O.J., Oklahoma City, Blowjobgate.  Ah, those were the days.

In April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed a dozen of their classmates and injured many others at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado and the innocence seemed lost all over again.

The elections of 2000.

September 11th.

The invasion of Iraq.


The Great Recession.

It’s impossible to know what things will be like fifty years from now.  We can only guess at the way people will look back and see today.



There’s little chance that I’ll live to find out.  The one thing to be sure of is that it will be different.  As different as today from that fateful day fifty years ago.

November 22, 1963.  A time when a man that urged people to “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country,” would be considered a hero.

My how times have changed.

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