I was sitting in Miss Chambliss’ 5 grade classroom at Oakhurst Elementary School in Fort Worth.  It was a beautiful, crisp late autumn day, one of those days we cherish, living in the oven that is often Texas.  We had just come in from lunchtime recess and were getting back to studying when one of my close childhood friends, Steve Ellis, burst into our classroom yelling, “The President has been shot in the face! The President has been shot in the face!” In an instant, my own life, and those of millions of Americans, changed forever. Read the rest of this entry

50th Anniversary of Two Great Speeches

We started this blog almost 2 years ago to discuss issues we believe to be critical to our American society: equality, social justice, energy, nutrition, education and security.  We named our blog this small planet, invoking the the words spoken by John F. Kennedy at the commencement ceremony at American University on June 10, 1963.  At the time, he was talking about the superpowers of the US and Soviet Union, humanizing the lives of those of us on both sides of the ideological divide. Have a look:

“For, in the final analysis, our most basic
common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe
the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all
mortal.”

Those words today still ring true, especially in view of the critical issues we are grappling with in all corners of our planet.  Just as important, though, was a speech he made the very next evening, on June 11, 50 years ago today in a television address to the nation.  In his speech, JFK took on racial equality and civil rights, a battle then unfolding on our television sets during each broadcast of the evening news.  Have a look at a clip from that speech:

We all know that JFK was human and had his own personal flaws.  What he did possess, though, was an uncanny ability to deliver the messages that we, as a society, and indeed the world needed to here at the precise time we needed to here it.

Half a century later, his words still deliver a powerful message that are as, and even more important than then.

 

 

Happy Presidents’ Day

In celebration of Presidents’ Day we honor John F. Kennedy, Jr., to whom this blog is dedicated.  Here is his inaugural speech, narrated by today’s prominent Americans reflecting the spirit of his commitment to the Remarkable Great Experiment:

Welcome to this small planet

I was 7 years old when John F. Kennedy took office on January 20, 1961, and he is the first president who I actually remember; I have memories of the grainy television images of his speeches, his trip to Ireland and Berlin, his press conferences where he good-naturedly sparred with the press.  I remember the tour of the White House Jackie gave on national television; I remember when JFK announced the formation of the Peace Corps; his challenge for us to go to the Moon, and the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I also have seared into my brain his assassination, and how unsettled and fearful I was after.  I remember, while at recess, watching Air Force One fly over my school in Fort Worth on its way to Dallas that fateful day; I remember precisely where I was (my fifth grade class), and who burst into the class room yelling that the President had been shot (Steve Ellis), and listening to the radio broadcast over the p.a. system as my principal, Mr. Couch, held the microphone next to the am radio speaker so we could all hear.  The images of the next few days are as stark now as they were then; I still hear the echoes of the drums and the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves as his funeral procession took JFK to Arlington National Cemetery.  I remember Jackie, Teddy, and Bobby lighting the eternal flame.  I still visit the Kennedy graves whenever I’m in Washington.  Somehow, those visits help keep me connected to those days, long ago.

But of all those memories, one has struck a chord within me even after all these years.  It is from a speech JFK gave June 10, 1963 at the commencement ceremony at American University in Washington, DC.  It was one of his most well know speeches where he described the dangers of communism and the cold war, but also talked of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.  Here’s a short excerpt from the speech:

“For, in the final analysis, our most basic
common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe
the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all
mortal.”

Those words were no more true than right now.  Even though JFK was talking at the time about the cold war and communism, his words apply even today to serious issues concerning tolerance, equality, diversity, the environment, mutual respect and the nurturing of others.  They also remind us that, indeed, we are all mortal and have an obligation to leave this Good Earth better than we found it.

In that spirit, I would like to announce that I am undertaking a new effort, a blog called this small planet, where we will discuss these issues and others that are critical to us and succeeding generations.  In future posts we will be addressing the issues of energy policy, the environment and climate change, sustainability, and social justice.  As you’ve come to expect, my positions will not be based on dogma or ideology, but be fact-based, practical, and pragmatic.  I will attempt to reduce highly controversial subjects down to the key issues, combing through the emotion and rhetoric to get to the key points.  Unlike The Daily Hurricane, which is primarily a political blog, this small planet will deal more with long term issues rather than current affairs and news of the day. We won’t shy away from technical subject matter, and try to communicate complex issues in plain language.  this small planet will also become the forum and repository for all of my posts about energy and energy policy. 

For now, this small planet is a duo project between Gracie and I , but we will be bringing on other bloggers over time if doing so expands the conversation.  Oh, and for fans of The Daily Hurricane: have no fear, the intrepid bloggers at TDH will continue on, stirring the proverbial political pot and having fun; I will also continue my contributions there.

We are still in development at this small planet, and once we are up and running, we’ll have an official announcement.  In the meantime, please make yourself at home.