Dead today

So many famous people died on this day in history — November 22. Influential novelists who died today include Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis, as well as Anthony Burgess and Jack London. From the world of the musical theatre, both Lorenz Hart and Arthur Sullivan died on this day.

So did Mae West and Mary Kay, two very different kinds of pioneering women, as well as Michael Hutchence from INXS, and even Mark Lenard, who played Mr. Spock’s dad.

Blackbeard the pirate died on this day — the same day of the year as Shemp from the Three Stooges. I’m not sure what that means, but it probably means something.

Yet when I think of November 22, I need to work to remember any of these fine and famous people. Because November 22, 1963 was the day that John Fitzgerald Kennedy died, and somehow for me, and for the history of my country, this was event that changed something fundamental in the nature of our society. In a very real way our nation’s history is divided into two — everything before then, and everything after. There was a kind of innocence that was lost in our culture on that day, and we have never quite managed to get it back.

Death divides our lives. And some deaths divide the lives of nations.

But every death creates ripples, which touch the lives of those still living.

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