We are the Kennedy Babies

We are the children born during the 1000 days of the John F. Kennedy administration.

We were in our mothers’ arms, by our fathers’ side, in our cribs, getting our first glimpse of the world, between the time President Kennedy was inaugurated and assassinated. Too young to understand but not for long. Our mothers and fathers and the world would fill us in soon enough.

“… being in my mother’s arms while she watched coverage of Kennedy’s assassination.”

President Barack Obama is a Kennedy Baby.

Any child born in America between January 20, 1961 and November 22, 1963, is a Kennedy baby.

I am a Kennedy Baby, born in 1962, the only full year of his administration.

By the time I understood that there was something called a Catholic person, it made no matter to me. Yet it had been such an issue at the time of JFK’s election. By the end of my first decade, I saw man land on the moon six times, unaware a young president had once made a promise.

The first Kennedy who garnered my young soul’s attention was Bobby. My brother and I were playing in Tarkington Park in Indianapolis. The year was 1968. I was age six. Suddenly, a motorcade passed by. Red lights swirling on top of police cars! My brother, age eight, put it in context: a man named Bobby Kennedy was running for president and campaigning in Indianapolis.

A handsome tan white man sat high atop a convertible, waving to onlookers on the sidewalk. We probably looked on until the motorcade passed, then went back to playing in the park.

Later, I learned of Bobby’s brother, who had been president when I was born. More than once I heard the story of being in my mother’s arms while she watched coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination.

It was only much later in life that I learned that childhood moment with Bobby Kennedy happened in the same year he spoke to a mostly black audience in a inner-city Indianapolis neighborhood, urging calm, the night Martin Luther King was assassinated.

I’ve come to know much more about the Kennedys in the nearly half century since I was born. The longer I live, the more I witness their legacy, and the more I’m proud to have been born under their watch, especially during that bright shining moment that was Camelot.

Thank you, JFK.,
A Kennedy Baby