There were numerous reminders of President Kennedy visible, from the sentimentally obvious down to the historically oblique – a placard bearing a facsimile of the Globe's front page on the day JFK announced his candidacy for president; the emblem on the pocket of a young girl's blazer, obviously symbolizing one of the hundreds of John F. Kennedy High Schools that sprang up between 1964 and 1966. But it was the memory of the older brother that brought into narrow focus the triple image to which any Kennedy will be divided in the eyes of the electorate.

There was Jack Kennedy, who went to Choate School, swam and helled around a bit at Harvard, joined the Navy and became a hero, and ran for Congress upon returning from the war. Later, Jack Kennedy would appear only at occasional campaign rallies, and in connection with such non-governmental family functions as football and sailing.

John Kennedy was the person who filled the role of congressman and senator, and later performed most of the duties in the White House. John Kennedy proposed legislation, signed bills, enacted programs, gave speeches to any crowds numbering under 20,000, and greeted any official dignitaries falling into a range bounded roughly by the prime minister of Canada and the rhododendron queen of West Virginia. John Kennedy was elected president in 1960. Jack Kennedy was a great help on the campaign trail, particularly at photo opportunities along the beach.

John F. Kennedy was by far the most elusive of the three. He appeared only at moments of great crisis, as though a Marine warrant officer were on duty at all times outside the Oval Office holding the presidential middle initial in a briefcase locked to his wrist. John F. Kennedy faced down Khrushchev and US Steel, attended summit conferences and declared "Ich bin ein Berliner" to thousands of screaming Germans. He is also generally assumed to have been tapped to run the 1964 re-election campaign.

More to the point, each of these people had at least one brother. Jack had Bobby and Teddy, who were his first mates and wide receivers. John had Robert and Edward, two men who followed him into the United States Senate. John F. Kennedy had his brother Robert F. He may have also had another, Edward M. Kennedy, but no one is really quite sure. Yet.


The trappings were certainly all there. People were jumping over each other to catch a glimpse of some member of the family. Ethel Kennedy, working the crowd like an expert, was nearly pulled over a police barrier by an over-enthusiastic fan.

There are an incredible number of Kennedys now, a full generation grown up since the days when Hubert Humphrey felt hemmed in by John Kennedy and the immediate brothers and sisters. One of the more widespread games among the crowd was trying to match the children with their parents. Most people eventually gave up

The north side of Faneuil Hall was by far the most interesting. For some reason known only to themselves and probably to Kennedy's advance people, most of the political-statement types were milling about there. The Revolutionary Communist Party members rubbed elbows with a number of pro-life advocates. Along the police line, someone representing something called the Polish Freedom Fighters Inc. held a sign telling the "hero of Chappaquiddick" that he should "Join Christ's Army. Fight the Jewish-Zionist Conspiracy." A passing gentleman of leisure waved his full bottle of white port at the sign. "Hero?" he told one of the Communists. "I'm a hero. I run for the booze."

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |   next >
Related: Public and private affairs, Ted's turn, Going Mobil, More more >
  Topics: Flashbacks , Charles Pierce, Mike Wallace, Ted Kennedy,  More more >
| More

Most Popular