At the Kennedy memorial observance Friday, historian and author David McCullough observed that “One is not dead as long as his memory is alive'”. Dallas’ tribute to President John F. Kennedy was evidence that his memory is both alive and cherished.
The commemoration on Dealey Plaza was appropriate and respectful. Thousands of people stood for hours in the cold and rain to honor the memory of the fallen president whose life ended tragically at the hands of an assassin on that spot half-a-century ago.
Both Mayor Mike Rawlings and historian McCullough spoke of Kennedy’s ability to inspire the nation to see visions and dream dreams that others would translate into reality after his passing. The singing of the Annapolis choir was truly moving, particularly their rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.
At the moment of President Kennedy’s death all stood in prayerful silence only broken by the tolling of church bells. Many had tears in their eyes.
It was a privilege to be asked to open the ceremonies with an invocation which I would like to share with you as I did with those at Dealey Plaza
Anniversary of the Death of President John F. Kennedy
Memorial Celebration, Dallas, Texas
Almighty and ever Faithful God
Today we lift up our minds and hearts to you
because you Lord have lifted us up
from the horrible tragedy enacted in this place
from the cruel suffering that was borne on this hill
from the shock and horror that gripped our nation|and from the years when we as citizens of this city suffered
and were implicated by the gun shot by one man
that killed a President in whom many of us had set our hopes and dreams for a better America.
It was your abiding inspiration and active presence among us Lord
that moved us ever forward despite the temptation only to lament and to be paralyzed in our grief.
You turned our sorrow into a firm commitment to move forward
You turned our grief into a resolve to refashion our city
to a place where life flourishes and true love abounds.
You turned our devastation to a commitment to rebuild here the city of God
a city where all are welcomed, nurtured and cared for.
We rejoice with gratitude in all that you have caused to happen here in a place which was disgraced
scorned and ruthlessly judged, by ourselves and by others.
May you, Heavenly Father, continue to sustain us as we celebrate
that the Phoenix has risen from the ashes of violence
that hatred can be turned to harmony
that ignorance can cede to understanding
that prejudice can lead to openness.
Make us instruments of your peace and bearers of divine justice
that always tempers instinct with mercy
that changes what appears to be defeat to the reality fed by providence that all will be well.
Lord, may you always walk with us
May you inspire us, as you once inspired President John Fitzgerald Kennedy,
To dream of a world that never was and say… why not.
May God bless the United States of America.