One of the pleasures of living in Massachusetts is the opportunity to welcome friends from other parts of the United States, Canada, and even Europe to this place so rich with history and meaning. Among my favorite destinations is always the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. The way it uses artifacts and video footage to describe Kennedy's legendary presidency is nothing short of awe-inspiring. But that, of course, is because for many the Kennedy presidency itself was awe-inspiring, in its ability to speak to people across the world, in its ability to inspire young Americans, in its hope for a more free and just society. Kennedy's vision is as relevant today, 50 years after his inauguration, as it was then. Today, my friend Heather and I visited the museum and we were especially inspired by a moving poem written by Jacqueline Kennedy on the occasion of their first anniversary.
"Meanwhile in Massachusetts"
Meanwhile in Massachusetts Jack Kennedy dreamed
Walking the shore by the Cape Cod Sea
Of all the things he was going to be.
He breathed in the tang of the New England fall
And back in his mind he pictured it all,
The burnished New England countryside
Names that a patriot says with pride
Concord and Lexington, Bunker Hill
Plymouth and Falmouth and Marstons Mill
Winthrop and Salem, Lowell, Revere
Quincy and Cambridge, Louisburg Square.
This was his heritage -- this was his share
Of dreams that a young man harks in the air.
The past reached out and tracked him now
He would heed that touch; he didn't know how.
Part he must serve, a part he must lead
Both were his calling, both were his need.
Part he was of New England stock
As stubborn, close guarded as Plymouth Rock
He thought with his feet most firm on the ground
But his heart and his dreams were not earthbound
He would call New England his place and his creed
But part he was of an alien breed
Of a breed that had laughed on Irish hills
And heard the voices in Irish rills.
The lilt of that green land danced in his blood
Tara, Killarney, a magical flood
That surged in the depth of his too proud heart
And spiked the punch of New England so tart
Men would call him thoughtful, sincere
They would not see through to the Last Cavalier.
He turned on the beach and looked toward his house.
On a green lawn his white house stands
And the wind blows the sea grass low on the sands
There his brothers and sisters have laughed and played
And thrown themselves to rest in the shade.
The lights glowed inside, soon supper would ring
And he would go home where his father was King.
But now he was here with the wind and the sea
And all the things he was going to be.
He would build empires
And he would have sons
Others would fall
Where the current runs
He would find love
He would never find peace
For he must go seeking
The Golden Fleece
All of the things he was going to be
All of the things in the wind and the sea.