Astoundingly enough, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Every one of us has salient memories — personal events such as weddings or births — but the trajectory of our lives also is defined by events that have impact internationally. The atomic bomb or VJ day. Fighting in Vietnam or an anti-war demonstration. The twin towers on 9/11 or perhaps the “shock and awe” bombardment of Iraq in 2003.
For Baby Boomers like myself, the assassination of President Jack Kennedy is indelible. I recall my elementary school teacher dismissing class, the early bus home and then riding bikes around the neighborhood with my friend Ronnie to tell everyone the news — except they already knew.
This was the first time I saw an adult cry, as more than a few sat stunned in front of their black-and-white television sets, weeping openly. And then the funeral procession with little John John saluting as the casket rolled by.
Over the last 50 years, I’ve graduated high school, graduated college, earned an MBA, moved to Florida, married, with my wife raised two sons, worked in St. Pete, worked in Washington, D.C., worked in St. Pete again, worked in D.C. again and now am learning Florida in a deeper way at Florida Trend.
When I began reflecting on the Kennedy assassination, I expected to conclude that the acrimony and dysfunction of today is worse than ever. But I’m not so sure. Is the fervor around the Affordable Care Act, which is dividing America today, really worse than the passion that surrounded the Vietnam War, for example? Or worse than the often ugly resistance to integration? The course of 50 years offers a lot of perspective on today’s tribulations.
The fervor around today’s issues often may seem over the top, but America, throughout our country’s history, has always been defined by people standing up for their beliefs, however stridently.
I do feel we could use a little more compassion and compromise. For all his errors, including his personal failings, Jack Kennedy embodied hope for all Americans — hope that didn’t die with him.
We lost a friend last month with the death of former Florida Trend Editor John Berry, 77. He came to Trend in 1994 as an accomplished journalist with extensive credits from Time, BusinessWeek and the Washington Post. John was a graceful writer who understood how to use language economically without sacrificing content, great lessons for a monthly magazine.
John was quite a character. He loved jazz and once figured a way to shoehorn an exhibition of photographs of famous jazz musicians into Trend’s pages. He was an avid golfer. Executive Editor Mark Howard, whom John hired, remembers him using a golf analogy on how to set up a magazine story — “you’ve got to tee it up,” he’d tell writers who submitted long-winded introductions.
We salute John’s contributions to Florida Trend and offer condolences to his family.
Lee County is celebrating its 126th anniversary with a resurgent economy and the announcement of the Hertz headquarters. Florida Trend profiles the county, home to Cape Coral and Fort Myers, at this website.
Next summer, we will recognize the Best Companies to Work For in Florida. It seems a long way off, but registration is open. The polling is conducted by a third party, so it’s entirely fair. And we only poll companies that register, so please do so now at bestcompaniesfl.com.
Fitness update: I’m ready. I’ve run 2.0 miles in the heat of summer. I’ve been to the gym, sort of. Now comes the Turkey Trot. My early goal was 31:00 minutes, or an average 10:00 minutes per mile. On reflection, 32:30 is more realistic and still would be 42 seconds faster than last year.