U.S. is lucky it had right leader in place

On Nov. 22, 1963, I was a sophomore attending Bishop Ryan High School. I was sitting in homeroom when the announcement came over the single speaker just above the blackboard in front of the classroom. Our homeroom teacher was Moe Drilling, who was also the head coach of the varsity football team. Having to accept the reality that my president had just been shot to death hit me like a very hard punch in the gut. I felt sick and my head was whirling; but seeing Drilling, my tough-as-nails football coach, trying to hide his tears rocked my world. That world has never been the same.

President John F. Kennedy, Drilling and Bishop Ryan High School are all gone now; but that moment in time is still frozen in my mind. I’ve always thought it ironic that the Thanksgiving holiday and the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination are celebrated so closely in time, since one event is the antithesis of the other.

Today, we should realize how important it is to have the right leader at the right time in history. We might take the opportunity during this Thanksgiving season to give thanks to the Lord that Kennedy was our commander-in-chief during those apocalyptic days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. With the future of the world in the balance, we were blessed with Kennedy’s ability to balance ego and humility in order to defuse what could have been the final world war.

After all, Kennedy could just as easily have been overcome with the pseudo-machismo of another recent commander-in-chief and challenged Nikita Khrushchev to “bring it on.”

Robert J. Wegrzynowski