Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, released the following statement today in remembrance of President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas, Texas:
"In the life of this nation there have been a few events of such consequence and moment that they have a transformative impact on the people of the country. For my generation, however, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 is the moment that lives with us forever. For on that day, my generation lost its leader, its hero, its champion. And its innocence.
"I remember where I was and how I felt I learned the terrible news. I was a young schoolgirl when my teacher, wiping away tears, announced to the class that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas and was dead. I was stunned and shocked and sad and heartbroken. I cried all the way home. When I got there I went to my room and prayed.
"A half century later, I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. And every year on this day for the last 50 years, I always pause to remember the man who inspired me to devote my life to public service and who, along with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, taught me by their example that the greatest calling in life is the call to serve others.
"And I still say a prayer for President Kennedy each November 22 but they have not been prayers of lamentation for many years. They are prayers of thanks to the Lord for his infinite wisdom and grace in blessing our country with a captain as perfectly suited to lead our ship of state during the epochal time that was the 1960s as was Abraham Lincoln to the 1860s.
"No one better symbolized the nation's vitality and sense of purpose and unlimited possibility than President Kennedy. He personified the pioneering, trailblazing, independent, courageous, and can-do spirit for which America is justly celebrated around the world.
"Most of all, President Kennedy was a man who never stopped thinking about tomorrow or working to realize the full promise of America. And he understood that we all had a place in that future and a role to play in bringing it about. That is why he proclaimed in his stirring inaugural address: "Ask not, my fellow Americans, what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.'
"President Kennedy was a man of consistent and tremendous moral courage. To him, freedom was indivisible, the birthright of every person on earth. John Kennedy, like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. King, understood that "when one man is enslaved, all are not free.'
"President Kennedy may be gone but he will never be forgotten. His works -- the "glow from that fire' truly lit the world.
"So on this day I am remembering President Kennedy. His flame glows eternally in Arlington Cemetery and in the hearts of untold millions the world over, including that little schoolgirl he inspired long ago and who is now the Member of Congress from the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas.
God bless President John Kennedy."