Having family in Napa and vicinity, I read the article in The Napa Valley Register: "JFK: grief and outrage grip the nation--the moment that changed our lives forever" (Nov. 22). I was born just three weeks after the assassination.

I am Catholic and, naturally, I paid attention to my parents' recollections of the 35th President of the United States. Both of my folks liked JFK and had voted for him. In my own reading of history, I admire the man's official policies.

I believe Kennedy's death marked a demarcation line in American history. I consider nearly every subsequent president as sort of an “accidental president.”

Like many people, I often ask the "What Ifs.” “What if President Kennedy had not been shot, what would have transpired in (any particular category)?" The avenues are endless.

Despite his human flaws, I liked JFK's persona far better than I did that of his brothers. JFK's signature inaugural address statement still lives on today: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Our nation lost its innocence on Nov. 22, 1963. However, it is up to us to see that JFK's legacy lives on in our own corner of the world, for future generations.

James A. Marples

Longview, Texas

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