The Kennedy Library
Richard J. Garfunkel
April 2, 2007
It’s an easy drive from anywhere in Boston to College Point where the library is located. It shares a peninsular with the massive Boston branch of the University of Massachusetts, and on a clear day, from the museum, one can see the downtown skyline of Boston.
I’ve been there often over the years and my daughter, in the early 1990’s, was even an intern there while she was getting her Masters Degree from Boston University. Its architecture blends in with sea that JFK loved and fittingly surrounds the edifice. On this particular day we were in Boston to celebrate my son Jon’s 31st birthday and attend a Seder in Peabody at the home of an old business colleague.
So with a few hours to wander around, we again chose the Kennedy Library and Museum. The first venue is a room full of artifacts and a film commemorating the late President’s trip to Ireland in the summer of 1963. One can sense the utter and unrelenting joy expressed by the Irish people towards their adopted son of Eire. He, of course, promised to come back but never had that chance. One quickly gets introduced to the early life of John Kennedy in a seventeen- minute film, which included some wonderful interviews rarely seen and the more famous Person-To-Person segment with Edward R. Murrow. As we walked through the various rooms and observed the displays that chronicled Kennedy’s military service and political life, we sat down and watched his whole 1960 Convention acceptance speech from the Los Angeles Coliseum. I had very little memories of that address given 47 years ago, but Linda, I, and many others sat transfixed with his message and eloquence. Over the last almost 50-years there have been few political speeches that matched that effort. Of course the letters to and from his mother were precious. In one, the President asks his mother Rose to please clear it with his office before she writes personal requests for autographs from foreign heads of state.
Of course I took a photo (enclosed) of the Stueben glass model of the PT-109 that was presented by the late Lt. Commander Fred W. Rosen (Linda’s cousin) representing Peter Tare, the PT Boat’s Officer Alumni Association, who was a close friend of the President.
There is a marvelous film segment at the very end of the museum tour where President Bill Clinton tells of his boyhood Rose Garden meeting with President Kennedy. We must have watched it ten times.
What a great loss for the country. The charm, élan and elegance of the Kennedy’s was with us for only a brief moment. As I look back, it was all too short and we have not experienced anything like it or them since.