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Remembering an assassination

Sixty years ago today, President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. I had yet to be born, but the occasion of the anniversary brings to mind my visit to Dallas five years ago.

I wrote at the time about how my mental picture of the area in which the assassination occurred differed markedly from reality, despite having seen it on screen countless times. I think about that from time to time, especially in those disorientating moments when my perception of a situation suddenly shifts.

I also often find myself thinking about the memorial, and in particular, how the emptiness and absence was the thing that made it so remarkably effective. A blank space can be more powerful than words. Silence can be more powerful than speech.

In my post at the time, I also wrote:

Would anybody really want such a focus on their death as opposed to their life? Why would anyone want to be remembered as the victim of their own murder, as opposed to being remembered for their lifetime of achievements?

And that, perhaps, is the strongest sentiment I associate with this anniversary. I think my loved ones know that I don’t mind what happens to me after I die, and that they should do whatever brings them the most comfort. What with being dead and all, I won’t really mind. But I have a strong aversion to being remembered for my death, or my death being marked in preference to my life.

This makes this post a bit hypocritical, I realise, but I hope that no one marks the 60th anniversary of my death. I mean, it’s hardly a problem I expect to have, I’m sure I’ll be long-forgotten. But I’d much rather be remembered in the context of my life than of my death.

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Post-a-day 2023, , .

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