That November day

There are times when you wonder if your life will get any better.  On the 22nd of November 1963, I was 14-years old and sitting in a classroom in a small Texas town when I heard my teacher announce JFK's assassination. 

“I don't ever want to feel like I did that day” are the lyrics to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song and I hope they remain true when it comes to that awful November day. My classmates were cheering and clapping for this senseless murder while I began to worry about the future of all minorities including myself.  

JFK was definitely not the most popular man in Texas, to say the least.  I thought to myself if the most powerful man in the world cannot be safe then how is my dark-skinned Iranian family going to survive in this small Texas town?

That November day I began to dislike convertibles, Dallas, Lyndon Johnson, Oswald, and even some guy named Jack Ruby.  Fear was instilled in a lot of people.  This was one terrible haunted house with no exit and we were all stuck in it. 

Although the media constantly overemphasizes the President's assassination, I would rather think about how he lived and why he is a favorite among many Americans.  However, I must admit that I am still angry to this day that after forty years this government could not solve his murder.

I was cheering and rooting for Jacqueline while many Americans were upset when she married the Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis.  I want to believe that she moved there with him to demonstrate her disbelief in America's handling of her husband's murder.

What really baffles me to this day is the reason behind my classmate's excitement when they heard JFK was assassinated. But I'm reminded of Pink Floyd's lyrics: “You can't always expect what you want”. In the words of Talking Heads, “days go by and the water flowing underground…”

That was until I saw my old friend and classmate John some 35 years later at a high school reunion.  I couldn't help myself finally asking him what the hell he was thinking cheering poor Kennedy's murder along with the rest of the class.  He looked at me with a tired and embarrassed look and uttered the words, “We just did not know any better and that is it, no excuse.”

His words were reassuring…

It is certainly not about being a Democrat or Republican, but about losing a good man who cared about public service.  I call on all Iranian-Americans to show gratitude towards this man on the fortieth anniversary of his death by organizing public services in their communities. 

I will end by uttering the words of the U2's Bono: “too late, tonight, to drag the past out into the light” and remember “we are one but we are not the same so we need to carry each other” and not destroy one another.

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