I was eleven years old when one of my most memorable moments occurred. I was sitting in history class when the principal came over the intercom and announced that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas. That was a lifetime ago.
Fifty years has passed and I am now older than he was back in 1963. I remember going home, getting off the bus that fall evening and discovering the television was on in the living room. That was unusual. Our television was never on when I came home from school. It was only turned on for the five oíclock news.
My family gathered around it all evening and watched in unbelief as one news flash after another filled the little black and white screen.
Iíve lived to see two generations pass since that fateful day in Dallas. My grandmothers and my parents are now gone. Next month Iíll have an eleven year old grandchild, and when I look at her I wonder what would go through her head if such a thing should occur today. Would it impact her as much as Kennedyís death impacted me?
I fear not. I fear this generation of children may have been desensitized to being shocked. It seems television shows, movies and the news channels have worn down our ďshock factor.Ē Iím afraid that is not a good thing.
I believe I grew up in an age of innocence where children were protected from the horrors of the world. Things adults only whispered about behind closed doors are now talked about openly. I know. Iím one of the guilty parties. It takes a lot to shock me nowadays.
Fifty years agoÖWhen I say it, it seems like a long, long time ago. But then, it seems as if it was only yesterday. The newspaper clippings and pictures I collected in the days following the assignation have become brittle and yellowed with age. One glance in the mirror tells me all those years really have passed by.
I am now a grandfather of four little girls, and next year Iíll welcome a grandson into this world. Itís a world I would never have dreamed about five decades ago. Space travel, I-phones, Face-time, Facebook, cars that park themselves and satellites and drones that watch us from hundreds of miles out in space where unheard of.
We still had devotionals at the beginning of every school day, followed by a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. In God We Trust was never an issue. It was our only hope.
I have always embraced change reluctantly. I donít feel so bad about that now that I am looking fifty years into the past. My prayer is that our country will still be One Nation Under God fifty years from now. My prayer is that my granddaughter will live to see her eleven year old grandchild growing up in a Christian nation that allows prayer in school.
May that generation rise from their desks each morning and say the pledge of allegiance to one nation under GodÖ the same God I pledge my allegiance to.