Saturday, November 22, 2008

In Memoriam: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

45 years ago today our 35th President was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and the nation and the world plunged into dalus (dalut = poverty). Every year today, a welter of memories rise to the surface. One of them is of the President in West Berlin, giving his famous ich bin ein Berliner speech, and throngs of people chanting "Ken-ne-dy Ken-ne-dy." They were not chanting because the President heralded a rosy future, not because he promised a new era of peace, but precisely because he was willing to risk war to keep them, and the rest of the world, free.


I dreamed I saw John K. last night
To the tune of Joe Hill:


I dreamed I saw John K. last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But John, you're so long dead,"
"I never died," says he
"I never died," says he

"In Dallas, John," says I to him,
Him standing by my bed,
"They got you with a rifle shot,"
Says John, "But I ain't dead,"
Says John, "But I ain't dead."

"Lee Harvey Oswald killed you, John,
He shot you, John," says I.
"Takes more than guns to kill a man,"
Says John, "I didn't die,"
Says John, "I didn't die."

And standing there as big as life
With smiling Irish eyes
John says, "What they forgot to kill
Went on to mobilize,
Went on to mobilize."

"John K. ain't dead," he says to me,
"John K. ain't never died.
Where Yankee boys for freedom fight
John K. is at their side,
John K. is at their side."

"From Iraq to Afghanistan,
Where tyranny holds sway,
Where Yankee boys for freedom fight,
That's where you'll find John K.
That's where you'll find John K."

I dreamed I saw John K. last night,
Alive as you or me
Says I, "But John, you're so long dead,"
"I never died," says he
"I never died," says he

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