The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy is fast upon us. Kennedy was the nation’s 35th President, and was gunned down in Dallas on November 22, 1963. As the youngest man to fill the most powerful political position in the country, and arguably of the world, until that time, Kennedy was seen as a symbol of hope, change, and new ideas. He was often compared to the mythical King Arthur and his administration to the utopian realm of Arthur, Camelot. His early death and the sudden end to his presidency sent the country into deep mourning, disillusionment, and confusion.
Now it is fifty years since that monumental day when so much changed in the
country, and the Shapell Manuscript Foundation is remembering Kennedy with a special exhibit remembering the legacy of President John F. Kennedy entitled, “The Fading Light of Camelot.” Running from November 1, 2013 until January 2, 2014, it will be held at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland.
One small example of the many documents which will be on display as part of the exhibition is a letter written by JFK right before he left on his trip to the west, but which did not arrive until the day after the President’s funeral. The letter was post-dated to November 26 because it was a birthday note to Congressman Daniel J. Flood, sent several days before with the intention of arriving on the congressman’s birthday. Little did Kennedy or anyone else know at the time that November 26 would be the day after Kennedy’s own funeral. Needless to say, because of the peculiar dating of the note, the letter is extremely rare.