Profile in leadership

December 10, 2013 

The anti-John Kennedy letter from Larry Phillips was almost totally wrong.

John Kennedy proclaimed the goal of landing on the moon at the very onset of his administration, and more importantly, sought and got the funding to expand our space program to make it happen. The first and only manned landing happened on July 20, 1969. President Nixon had only taken office on Jan. 20, 1969, and had virtually no role in the program other than not cutting the funds for it.

Kennedy was about a lot more than the moon landing, however. He saved the world from nuclear war when he called the Russians' bluff after they stationed missiles in Cuba and bragged about it. He did this with no loss of life and virtually no American causalities. It may have cost him his life later.

But beyond that, people who know realize that we would never have gotten bogged down in Vietnam if he had not been killed. He was very smart and, although he provided advisors, he would never have made the commitment that President Johnson did.

He was an award-winning author of "Profiles in Courage."

But he also created the Peach Corps to offer and alternative form of government service to young people. He tried to bring peace and help to Third World countries without trying to conquer them.

Yes, history has shown he had flaws that would bring him down if president now. But he also had injuries from an heroic mission while in the Navy in World War II. He was left with several chronic illnesses and physical limitations due to his service in combat, the last president to do so. He was a true leader.

Joseph M. Reichert

Belleville

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