A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences,
in spite of obstacles or dangers and pressures,
- and that is the basis of all human morality.
~ John F. Kennedy


"I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade..."
~ from JFK's favourite poem

Courage in others inspired John Fitzgerald Kennedy to be courageous, just as John Fitzgerald Kennedy inspires courage in others.

JFK got strength from reading about courageous historical figures and writing about them always eased his pain. After the death of his older brother, Joseph, he assuaged his pain by writing a book about him. While he was bed-ridden after his near-death back surgery as a Senator in 1954, he wrote Profiles In Courage.

If it hadn't been for JFK's courage in the Solomon Islands he and his ten fellow shipwrecks would have been either taken prisoner or starved to death. Against the wishes of everyone else - some who wanted to wait for rescue and some who wanted to surrender to the Japanese - JFK took action. Every waking moment he went swimming, either to intercept American ships or to find more hospitable islands or find more edible food. That's how they all survived long enough to be rescued.

After the war JFK began his political career, spanning fourteen years before he became President. During that time he criss-crossed the state of Massachusetts and then the entire United States in every form of weather - be it on icy roads or hazardous flying conditions.

As Senator JFK helped his brother Bobby attack organized crime as it had never been attacked before and this carried on through his Presidency.

So too did JFK stand up to the entire military-industrial complex of his own nation as they attempted to bamboozle him - as they had done all previous (and subsequent) presidents.

So too did JFK stand up for the blacks and defend their rights as equal citizens - something that previous presidents had ignored.

So too did JFK stand up to crooked unions and crooked business men who were attempting to hold the economy of the United States hostage.

So too did JFK speak out against and stand up to the communists of the world who attempted to spread totalitarianism to vulnerable nations wishing to repel them, and which after his death fell into their hands, as has the United States.

So too did JFK stand up to the international bankers who were leading America into debt and future bankruptcy.

The list could go on and on but suffice it to say that one of the defining characteristics of JFK was his courage. And it wasn't blind courage. He knew that his chances of success in each of his ventures was never assured, but he forged ahead anyway.

Here's what JFK said one time:

"A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles or dangers and pressures, - and that is the basis of all human morality."

Here's an excerpt from Arthur Schlesinger's A Thousand Days which gives some insight into JFK's courage:

"...He had a hunger for experience which caused him to demand that life be concentrated, vivid and full. 'He lived at such a pace,' Jacqueline Kennedy said later, 'because he wished to know it all.' It was all somehow connected with the precariousness of his health: this seemed to give his life its peculiar intensity, its determination to savour everything, its urgent sense that there was no time to waste..."

"On Cape Cod, in October 1953, when JFK returned from his honeymoon, he read his young wife what he said was his favorite poem. She learned it by heart for him, and he loved to hear her recite it. It was Alan Seeger's I Have a Rendezvous with Death:"

"'I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land,
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .

But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year;
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.'"

To me the only consolation in President Kennedy's death is the belief that he was a model of courage for us during his short time on this earth. Perhaps God needed him somewhere else and took him to fulfill that destiny. We, those left behind, are here to fulfill ours. ~ Jackie Jura

I Have a Rendezvous With Death (Alan Seeger was born in 1888 and graduated from Harvard in 1910. When World War I broke out he was living in Paris and soon joined the French Foreign Legion. He served in the Régiment de Marche de Légion Etrangère, and was killed in action at Belloy-en-Santerre in July of 1916.



Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

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