I spent this past week in Dallas with my family. We drove there to move my son to his new apartment where he’ll begin an exciting new life and job after graduating from the University of South Carolina. I couldn’t be prouder.
While there, we traveled to the top of Reunion Tower. From there, we could see all of Dallas and the surrounding areas. We had a bird’s eye view of Dealey Plaza, the Dallas Book Repository, the infamous grassy knoll, and the x-mark on the highway where sadly, President Kennedy was shot.
From this height, it was easy to become philosophical, dreaming of a day when statesmanship existed and a higher level of discourse mattered.
President Kennedy had planned to deliver a speech to the Dallas Citizens Council on the day that he was shot. Several of his quotes resonate today with great power.
He said “There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding fault but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only in America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live. “
He concluded by saying “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 all“. That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength.