Thousands of words have been written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy.

kennedyMany of them criticize JFK, depicting him as an “in-over-his-head” president who was not taken seriously by the military and intelligence establishment. 

Some articles focus on Kennedy’s reputation as a serial women-chaser, who “won” the election only through the shady efforts of his scheming father. Others point to Kennedy’s unimpressive legislative record, or at the very least grade his White House as “incomplete.”

Some remembrances honor Kennedy as our first “modern president,” especially in the aftermath of the drab Eisenhower era.

He inspired young people to dedicate their lives to public service in programs like the Peace Corps and rallied the nation to support the moon shot. Kennedy set the stage for civil rights reform, a goal achieved under successor Lyndon Johnson.

To me, the Jesuit magazine, America, has the best piece about Kennedy. Historian James Douglass, author of “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” wrote the article called “A President for Peace.”

Douglass wrote how Kennedy and Khrushchev formed a last-minute alliance during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both overcame resistance from domestic hard-liners.

JFK averted global nuclear annihilation. That’s his greatest achievement.

(Photo: JFK Library)