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I love to write short stories that offer inspiration to those who read them. I have decided to capture these stories in a book that I hope to publish in 2017 (or maybe 2018). Every few months, I will send out another chapter that I am considering for the book so that I can get some feedback. Please note each story is only the introduction to the chapter, not the entire chapter. I usually send out the chapters over email, but this time I thought I would include it in our newsletter. I value your comments, thoughts, and observations- so please send them to me!

I grew up in the 60’s. It was a time of tragedy, social reform, and inspiration. The 60’s were a tremendous time of change, and as a firm believer in vision and inspiration, they remain an influential time for me to look back on. As I’m sure many of you do as well, I hold vivid flashbulb memories of the assassinations that plagued our country during that decade. President John F. Kennedy, Minister Martin Luther King Jr., and Senator Robert “Bobby” F.  Kennedy all served as inspirational figures and were all tragically killed in the 60’s. Written by Dick Holier days after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, “Abraham, Martin and John” was recorded and popularized by Dion. The message of aspiring to greatness carries through the soft rhythm of the ballad, reminding our nation of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy icons of social change. Whether or not you’re familiar with the song, I urge you to read over the lyrics. If you already know the song, you can even hum the tune.

Anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
You know I just looked around and he’s gone

Anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
I just looked around and he’s gone

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed lotta people but it seems the good they die young
I just looked around and he’s gone

Didn’t you love the things that they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free
Some day soon, it’s gonna be one day

Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin, and John

To start with Lincoln- there are obvious reasons he has remained one of the most popular presidents of our country. With a vision to keep the union together and a fight for human liberty, Lincoln’s reputation is one of freedom. Lincoln’s status as an inspiring public figure and speaker remains influential even 150 years after his assassination.

In the early 60’s, John F. Kennedy inspired a nation with his presidency, and, more specifically, his moon vision. His goal was to get a man on the moon by the end of the decade and to “do it right; do it first.” JFK sought to organize and measure the best the country could offer and accept the challenge to fly a man to the moon and return him safely to earth. Perhaps his most well attributed quote speaks to his character and vision more than any paraphrasing could. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Martin Luther King Jr., an icon of non-violence and an advocate for ending segregation, prejudice and hatred, took the 60’s by storm. MLK had a dream that to this day remains a goal to fight for. His assassination shook the country but could not shatter his vision.

The day of MLK’s assassination, Bobby Kennedy gave an impromptu speech to the people of Indianapolis to deliver the tragic news. In what has come to be known as the “greatest speech ever,” Kennedy delivered pure inspiration from the back of a truck. He prompted people to think about what kind of nation the U.S. is. While people can be fixed on hatred, they can instead make the choice to put effort into understanding, compassion, and love. A vision for social change and a united country, Bobby was assassinated 63 days later after winning the California Presidential Democratic Primary.

These men are connected not because they were all assassinated, but because they spoke to our country in strong, visionary ways. While you may not agree with their messages, it’s hard to disagree with their powerful influence. In the last 10 years, there has been little inspiration in the U.S. that matches the level outlined by Lincoln, King, Kennedy, and Kennedy.

I’ll leave you with a quote taken from the George Bernard show and paraphrased by the Kennedy’s that sums up the message these four men strived for, fought for, and died promoting:

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

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