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Chapter 21: Assassination of John F. Kennedy

25 November 1963

Speaker: Lin-Erri Elani

"We greet you in great sorrow this day, Brother. The events of these past few days have filled us with sadness.

"Last Friday will be long remembered by your people and ours, for it occasioned the tragic loss of a truly great man and leader, John F. Kennedy.

"We were in the process of planning a contact with him when the news reached us. Immediately, all operations ceased, and we rushed to the Communications center here on Mars [Note: in the underground Confederation complex, occasionally used by Alliance personnel]. As we entered, radio receivers monitoring Earth frequencies were proclaiming the distressing news. John F. Kennedy had been assassinated, and was dying.

"In a matter of moments, this news transmission had been switched onto the Universal Broadcasting relay, and all the Alliance was informed. Within thirty minutes, an official day of mourning was proclaimed for the entire Alliance, which was to be the day of his funeral, the radios having sadly reported that John F. Kennedy had died.

"Flags on all worlds were flown at half-mast, a symbol never before seen, since our means of indicating death of a high official are very different. This had a great emotional effect on all of us, and more than ever we felt a oneness with the people of Earth in this hour of tragedy.

"Within two hours, television relays had been established from Earth. Your major networks were monitored, and all important programs were sent out over Universal Broadcasting transmitters to all Alliance planets. Programming on the UB was cancelled, and a tribute to the late president began. When the network was not relaying directly from your world, out masters went on to pay their own respects, including Master Christ, Who has an exceptionally close relationship with your people, to be sure.

"This morning, our own camera discs were set up along the entire route of the funeral cordon, from the Capitol building to the church to the final resting place at Arlington. These were located in buildings, on poles, and at other inconspicuous places along the course. Also, high up, a camera-equipped fleet of discs followed the procession.

"The church services were broadcast by cameras located around the interior.

"It was a moving event to witness on our screens, as we shared in the grief of a world unfamiliar to us. When his casket was lowered, we all experienced a feeling of deep sadness, for his family, and for those of your country and indeed your planet.

"The rest of the day was devoted to occasional live relays from Earth, and a continuing series of tributes from our Masters and ordinary people. We now turn you over to Master Kalen-Li, who is here with us."

"In sorrow, Alen, Bren. I would like to deliver to you a short message of condolence and at the same time, encouragement.

"I have noticed that for the first time in many years, the people of your world are united as one, in common remorse, in sympathy and in brotherhood. For once the differences of the many countries are forgotten to express worldwide distress at this tragedy.

"Is it not a terrible thing that it takes such a precious price to bring your people together? You have demonstrated that below all the official pomp, the international strife and the political and ideological disputes that threaten your existence, there is an underlying love of each other, a deep feeling of unison that goes beyond any differences of opinion.

"Both sides of the Iron Curtain were represented at the funeral today. They were there not to meet with each other, but to mourn the loss of a leader. There was no fighting, no gnashing of teeth, no flashing of swords, no clashing of beliefs. Instead, there was a lapse in the world tension as all these leaders came as ambassadors and as fellow humans.

"Why is this type of mutual love and respect not carried on in daily life, as it is on all other worlds? Why must it take a great tragedy to bring you together? Is it not a philosophical paradox that men unite only in violence and bloodshed? Must men die to keep you united in brotherhood?

"In respect to the president himself, I can only say that I feel a deep sense of loss and sorrow. For a brilliant man and leader to be taken from you at this time is a terrible trial of that there is no doubt.

"He was loved the world over. You may not have agreed with his politics, but you did not feel any antagonism toward the man for it, or at least most of you didn't. You can dislike the man's opinions without hating the man. He had your respect, even if not your support.

"This death set in action a course of action completely different from that which had been before his demise. No one can foresee all the consequences of this national tragedy. Maybe, though, it will initiate an examination of the forces in the world that would hate, that would destroy, that would kill. Perhaps it will precipitate a change for the better in world relations, in which case he will not have died in vain.

"Mr. Kennedy was basically a peace-loving man. Young and vigorous, he pursued his goals with a vitality unseen in any previous president. He went directly to the people for support, and they loved him for it. Now he is taken from you, and you at last know what is your loss. It seems to be that a man is taken for granted until be is departed. Then it is too late. A favorable review never brought back a closed show on Broadway, and a eulogy never gives a corpse any happiness.

"A man's worth is judged by his actions while alive, not by the praises he gets when be has gone to his reward. In my opinion, Mr. Kennedy, while alive, showed himself to be a great and good leader. I am sure that you all agree with me.

"But now, even as he lays in the sleep of the grave, the world goes on.

"We cannot stop everything forever. Soon it must come to pass that the problems of daily living will return to prominence. Nation will once again hate nation, and man will once again hate man. The memory of the brotherhood of these few days will be lost in the usual insanity and carelessness of politics and policies. Your people seem almost destined to live in constant fear, agony and uncertainty. Why is this? It is because you refuse to lift yourselves out of it. That is the reason.

"You will sit back and let George do it, and George will of course pawn off responsibility on you, with the result that no one does anything.

"You have seen that the world does not need terror, hate, and violence. There is a possibility that you can all live in peace and love such as you witnessed at Mr. Kennedy's death and funeral. He worked for it in life. Now his spirit will continue in death.

"For his memory, work for peace. It is your burden, Brothers."

"Lin-Erri again. We will contact on December the seventh. Va i luce. RK-11 clearing."

[Note: we discussed this during our communications when I was doing the file conversion. I asked the Kors if the Alliance actually showed such love and compassion for Earth, in view of the fact that few if any of their people knew of JFK. They replied that it showed them the kind of violence and horror that is possible on worlds where brotherhood and unity are all but nonexistent. It thus served as an inspiration to redouble their efforts to spread their message of peace, hope, and love on the many worlds, of which Earth is but one, where civilizations have not yet outgrown the evil nature that seems to be prevalent in mankind.

In any case, the Alliance formally honors the passing of leaders in the manner that their respective worlds use. As such, they followed America's ways. The difference was that it was the first time that a leader of an unaligned world had been so honored. Although the name of John F. Kennedy was largely unknown, Earth was quite familiar in the Alliance for a number of reasons that won't be explored here.]

Text proofread and edited for typographical errors and improved wording 20080909.

2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved