Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blues Moon Radio Tribute to JFK: 50th anniversary

This Tuesday, Nov. 19th, we will make a special tribute, although a somber and sad one, to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and children at eternal flame: JFK
The 50th anniversary of his assassination and funeral is this week.

The bugler who played Taps at President John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963 was Wisconsin native Army Sgt. Keith Clark, who became famous for the "broken" sixth note of the song traditionally played at the loss of a patriot. That broken note, from the top bugler in the nation - who was admittedly a perfectionist - expressed eloquently the feelings in our nation's broken heart.

Bugler at Arlington National Cemetery
Clark was honored by 100 buglers playing in his honor this past Saturday at Arlington National Cemetery. Read more from Journal Sentinel: ttp://

Our playlists usually feature song titles that spell out our theme, but we do have a song that was specifically written about President Kennedy's life, his inspiring effect on the culture of African-Americans before the signing of the Civil Rights Act, and the effect of his passing.

John Lee Granderson, composor of "A Man for the Nation" about JFK

John Lee Granderson's "A Man for the Nation" is a tribute to JFK. It is a song we usually play each year during this commemorative week, but is especially fitting on this, the 50th anniversary of the death of a man who changed so much in his short life, and whose death had such an effect on everyone. Granderson makes a fine tribute, one that lands him a spot in Blues history.

 It is often said, "I remember exactly what I was doing when Kennedy was shot." For me, unlike most, it was a blur because I was a schoolgirl in Texas when Pres. Kennedy was shot and we had been covering his visit in social studies, so excited that he was only a few miles away from our Army fort. I remember being sent home - teachers did not call parents to arrange it - we were just dismissed... dazed and confused... to walk or bike home without knowing what had transpired.

Days and days of TV viewing was focused on the tragedy. The next week, back in class, the entire post elementary school watched the funeral procession on TVs wheeled in to class. My throat choked up at the broken note on Taps (a song that we Army brats knew well as we saluted the folding of the flag on the post parade grounds each day at five, and at the funerals of friends' fathers who were lost in the early stages of Viet Nam).

My soul ached during John-John's heart-wrenching salute to his father. We all cried; I cannot speak for others, but I remained stunned ... as I am to this day.

Over the weekend, I had been glued to the TV when the then-alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was shot by Jack Ruby and I saw him die on live television. Years later, I was home alone watching a presidential candidate speak while my parents were out for the evening, and remember being worried for his safety when I saw Sirhan Sirhan rush up to and shoot Robert Kennedy - again on live TV.

Those events shaped a lot of lives - and truth be told, it is difficult to establish the effect that has had on our lives, our country or our planet - but it was a time when terrible acts of individual malice affected massive numbers of people.

Who knows how many times the human heart can be harmed by the malice of others without breaking for good? Is there a finite number of times? My heart goes out to everyone affected by malice of any kind. Malice can breed malice - it takes the utmost good to offset the urge to respond to it with the same.

This is a Blues show, so there is no shortage of sad events chronicled here each week, as recorded by the artists between 1920 and the present day. But, this anniversary opens the floodgates to memories, long suppressed because of their painfulness. No one, especially children, should be exposed to the horrors of assassinations or homicides such as these and those we endured on 9/11.

Let these events serve to make us better people and "A Better People."

The only "cure" is to become more humane - the "ME" generation has become very self-focused. So, let's all take one step back toward humanity each day we can - and stop thinking so much and so often of our own selfish needs and desires.

Serve another master than yourself.

Make your life large by keeping your ego small and by helping others.

My motto is: "Be Nice. Do Right." It isn't easy for me and I don't always succeed, but the bounty is in the trying. Tolerance is the word of the day. It is much more complicated that that, but in its simplistic form, it is a truth that our own freedoms are solely based on preserving freedom for others.

The playlist for this sad occasion is posted below, and as usual with themes, the story is in the song titles... we cannot guarantee that all the lyrics apply.

Blues Moon Radio playlist tribute to JFK and commemoration of 50th year

I don't usually lament, lecture or become lachrymose on this blog. So, next week, I promise we'll cheer you back up with Thanksgivukkah ... food songs! YUM! It will be the only time in a kazillion years that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. Something amazing to celebrate with friends and family - even those of us not fortunate enough to be Jewish - I've been fortunate enough to have great friends who are... it is something to be thankful for!

Thank you for listening!
Clair DeLune and RockyDawg, Blues Defender

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