50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's Assassination

Friday, November 22, 2013

The nation pauses today to remember President John F. Kennedy on this 50th anniversary of his assassination. No matter what side of the political aisle one sits, let us take at least a moment to honor one of our country's leaders who was taken from us much too soon.

Governor Palin paid tribute to President Kennedy in this beautiful tribute she penned on Facebook:
President John F. Kennedy was remembered and honored today in Dallas. A memorial plaque was unveiled at Dealey Plaza, inscribed with a beautiful quote that I discuss in my book “Good Tidings and Great Joy.” I also used the quote in my Southeastern University speech and would like to share the excerpt from “Good Tidings and Great Joy” (pgs. 130-132):

….During my speech, I recited one of my favorite quotes to the students, faculty, and Southeastern supporters: “We in this country, in this generation, are—by destiny rather than choice—the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”

The source of this quote? Which right-wing pundit called America the “watchman on the walls” for the world? What radical televangelist just had to add a Bible verse in there for good measure?

The answer might surprise you. The above quote would be ridiculously polarizing in today’s ├╝ber-partisan culture— if a Republican leader uttered it, I could easily imagine the “talking heads” on television immediately dissecting it:

“What does it mean our country is a nation ‘of destiny’?”

“How patronizing to call ourselves the ‘watchmen’ of the world.”

“Since when did America begin to have the market on ‘righteousness’?”

“So now the whole country has to be kept by ‘the Lord’? Whose Lord?”

What my audience may not have known is that the above words are excerpted from a speech John F. Kennedy was scheduled to deliver on November 22, 1963. Tragically, he never got to the podium that day, because he was assassinated in Dallas en route in his motorcade. Years later, his prepared remarks were released to the public, and we were finally able to see the significant message he intended to deliver that fateful day.

I especially love JFK’s quote from Psalm 127: “Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

Kennedy was going to invoke God’s protection on our country so that we might live up to our responsibility in the world….

Today, as we remember JFK, may we renew our commitment to live up to our responsibility as the abiding beacon of liberty in a troubled world. May we keep faith with all of those who, like President Kennedy, gave their lives in service to our country. And may the Lord always bless and protect America.

(P.S. The great author C.S. Lewis also died on that same day 50 years ago. I’ll write more about my admiration for him, which I also noted in “Good Tidings and Great Joy,” tomorrow from here in Minnesota.)

- Sarah Palin


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