What is with our fascination with the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy? And our obsession with the Titanic? Why do these tragedies still affect us? Why do we still care so much? Why are our hearts still tugged and pulled by these stories and events?
I have considered this since I was a young child. I was fascinated by both Lincoln and Kennedy. I remember sitting in a bookstore (back in the day when there were brick and mortar bookstores) poring over a book about John F. Kennedy, his life, his Presidency and his death. I spent probably twenty to thirty minutes (where was my mother?) looking at all the pictures. It moved me to tears.
I read A Night to Remember cover to cover. I read the passenger lists over and over again. Why? Why was my soul so tortured? I still ache. I cry when I watch the Titanic movie but it has absolutely Nothing to do with Leo & Kate, erm; Jack & Rose. It has everything to do with the ship. The children. The old couple cuddling as the water floods their quarters. It’s the dead floating in the water because they did not fill the lifeboats. It’s the beautiful china crashing on the floor. It’s the staircase. I ache.
Why does Lincoln’s death still consume me? When I see his bearded face I feel warmth in my heart for the kind of person he was and for what he stood. I consider where we are now with our political mudslinging and multiple interpretations of the constitution. I ache for the losses of his family, I ache for the depression that has been implied that he suffered from during his life. I know that pain.
Kennedy was a philandering womanizer and represented everything I dislike about men but yet, so charismatic. Even in death his life haunts me. The early loss of his son, the death of Jackie from Cancer (Grrrrrrr! Cancer!)… all of those things. The Kennedy family was one of those that scare me; rich, powerful, untouchable. But in spite of those things his death saddens me.
I think the thing about all of these is what they symbolized.
Lincoln was the symbol of the abolition of slavery.
The Titanic was the symbol of men’s pride and their belief that they had risen above nature in their comprehension of technology. (HA!)
Kennedy was the symbol of civil rights.
Huh. That’s interesting. Maybe that’s why they both affect me. I believe in fairness although I don’t think it exists. I believe that all men and women should be free to make their own choices. I don’t think color, race, gender, religious preference (or lack thereof), should have any bearing on choices. I also don’t believe in any kind of slavery. No person should “own” another person. Ever.
Oh, and it’s freaking weird that I did not realize until today that both Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s replacements were Johnson’s.
That’s just freaky.