TIME and Life’s Turbulent Years (60’s) has a picture of JFK just an hour before his death.
Presidential, Camelot and eternally youthful in that Dallas morning.
Another picture shows after a dip in Santa Monica. What other President would do that today.
Summer time. Pool is opened. Life guards and their whistles.
Sun shades and sun tan.
Sun burn and sun block.
Heart throbbing and heart breaking.
I had one indelible summer memory of staying indoor: had a broken arm from Hapkido went wrong.
Forced me to sit down. To be reflective.
Before that, I hadn’t realize that life never travel in a straight line
(white, yellow, blue, brown then black belt. Supposedly).
Even product planners can tell you that (S curve, valley of death etc…).
Instead, forced disruptions, surprised and blessed events strung together to make what’s called life.
Those in leadership factor in the “unexpected”, plan B, plan C , worst-case scenario.
Even then, things still turn out not as planned.
(ComSat with low battery life, no reception etc… that forced our Lt Mike Murphy to the clearing hence drawing fire).
The team that got Bin Laden, even with the Iranian hostage crisis in hindsight, still left a burned helicopter.
Apollo, Challenger all had their shares of disasters. Skype with multiple dropped calls, bought out twice to land in Seattle, Washington (but managed finally to link Video Chat for friends on Facebook).
Camelot and America’s brief shinning moment “Ask not…”.
So we did. A race to the moon, and a race to the jungle of South East Asia.
B-52 is now a throat-burning drink (ironically) and Apocalypse Now, a gay bar in former Saigon.
Horror! (line from the film).
I still remember where I was when I heard JFK was shot.
I was discussing it with Pierre, my half-breed schoolmate, on our way to L’Ecole Aurore via a short-cut.
We were in blue uniform, pretending to be adults. Even then, we knew somehow life would never be the same.
That world events somehow would directly impact our little lives (not too long before that, our own President had been assassinated along with his brother).
Still we had a dream (that Vietnamese kid and half-breed French kid would happily go to school).
Summer time, and youthful dream (especially when you are confined at home on cast).
And no matter what, taking down political leaders didn’t seem right in my naive assessment.
I have waited to see better solutions. And lately, with the trial of Egyptian President, I started to see that things have changed for the better.
And that if you waited long enough, what’s right will always have its day in court (or get declassified).
For that brief shinning moment, no one knew the handsomest President would hold office for only a little over 1,000 days.
Yet, his impact and influence lasted way beyond his grave e.g. private-sector space travel like Virgin Group etc..
Ask not….. for you will never know when the bell toll for thee. Summer time. Youthfulness. In restless dreams I walk alone.