11/20/2013 05:24 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Where Were You When JFK Was Shot?

Where were you on November 22, 1963? For some of you this may be before you time, but for me, I was a 12-year-old living in Edinburgh, Scotland and it is a day I will never forget.

And for those of you who have no recall of what happened 50 years ago, it was the day that John F. Kennedy was shot and assassinated.

I remember I was at home that night watching Emergency Ward 10, a popular British TV series, when they interrupted the show with breaking news. Now, that in itself was unusual in the U.K., and I remember our horror at the news.

I recall my mother's reaction. She was only 42 at the time and for someone who was not prone to showing her emotions, I could tell she was visibly upset. And really back then, murder -- assassination -- was so foreign to us all, especially in the U.K. Sadly, today it a common occurrence.

As a youngster on the brink of adolescence, I was becoming aware of world politics and JFK really inspired me. He seemed such a hero. He was young, attractive with a wife and young children and demanding changes in the way the nations of the world worked together.

I was so moved by his tragic death, that I actually wrote to Jackie Kennedy expressing my sorrow at what had happened to her and her young family, let alone the loss to the world. To me, his profound statements provided such wisdom, such hope for the future.

Of course, as an adult I have since learned more about the affairs, the adultery and manipulations, but you know what, Kennedy was the first person to interest me in politics and that can never change, regardless of what he had done. He caught my attention of what could be. He was charismatic and as a young person, he gave me hope.

And with one shot it was gone.

It makes you wonder what if... But we will never know. We can only speculate.

But I do know I learned some hard lessons from his death, albeit long after the fact, in that what you see is not always what is real. But maybe those moments of faith are important. Just maybe they transform what could be, into what is, and just maybe, regardless of his breaches in trust, he was on the right track.

As a world, we are so desperately looking for true leadership. Leadership that is authentic, real and worthy of our trust, and yet we struggle to find leaders worthy of that honour. With Obama, I felt we had it, but he's had such a tough road and a mess to clean up, that I am sure it has been an uphill battle just to stay the course, and there are times when one questions why anyone would want to put themselves into the firing line.

That takes true courage and faith, and we give little credit to those who put themselves out there, as sitting targets for anyone who wants to verbally attack them.


John F. Kennedy