we all came from the sea

“John Fitzgerald Kennedy” (1917-1963) by Alfred Eisenstaedt

I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins, the exact same percentage of salt in our blood, in our sweat in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
(John F. Kennedy in His Own Words)

On August 7, 1961, when I was four years old, President John F. Kennedy, a long-time summer resident of Cape Cod, signed a bill authorizing the establishment of Cape Cod National Seashore. Tim & I spent many of our childhood summers at our grandparents’ homes on the Cape, and we have visited the National Seashore countless times as children, and as adults, too, bringing our own children there to explore nature and discover history.

14 thoughts on “we all came from the sea”

  1. Like you, I was young when Kennedy was president. However, I was only an infant when he was assassinated, so I remember NOTHING about this great man. I wish that weren’t the case.

    Hope you had a great weekend, Barbara!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    1. I was six years old and in first grade when JFK was assassinated. I had no concept of what a president even was! But I got that all adults were extremely upset or in shock. My school bus driver harshly reprimanded two older boys (but still elementary school age) who were joking around and pretending to assassinate each other…

  2. Guess I’m the senior gal here. I was 13 in 1963 when he was assassinated. The image of little “John-John” saluting his father’s coffin is etched in my memory …

    Love the quote above. Never heard it before. “Because we all came from the sea” … can’t believe he got away with that line … sounds almost like evolution …

    1. It does sound like evolution, Sybil, and it has a ring of truth to it. And “going back from whence we came…” Weaving science and poetic prose together… A very thoughtful man.

      Years after the event I’ve seen the clip of “John-John” saluting his father’s coffin, but I don’t think my parents let me watch it when it happened. They were very protective of my innocence, I think, and I was a highly-sensitive child. Still am…

    1. Ah, we’re about the same age then, Laurie. My parents watched Walter Cronkite. My memories of newscasts came a little later, I remember the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy much more clearly.

  3. Because we all come from the sea.. and our heart dwells there! I never knew these words from John Kennedy, thanks for sharing. Sea is where I belong…

    1. Ah yes, Sonali, you and I do belong by the sea, which teaches our hearts about the flow of light, unity, diversity and change. Salt water is a healer in so many ways…

  4. I was born on the prairies but always felt the pull of the tides and the ocean so resonate strongly with his thoughts. I was 14 when President Kennedy was assassinated and remember the moment clearly. Everything stopped at our school, much disbelief and sadness even in small town rural Alberta.
    I always love your thoughts and memories about the sea Barbara. Thank you 🙂

    1. Colleen, I do remember you saying before that you were born on the prairies and I think I mentioned to you that I’ve never seen or visited a prairie, except in pictures and movies. Some day I hope to get some traveling in, now that my father is gone and my load has lightened, many possibilities are beginning to present themselves.

      Sometimes I am amazed by how closely Canadians seem to follow American current events – I don’t think the reverse is true, which is a sad commentary on American self-absorption…

  5. I love love love the quote Barbara – It’s perfect for the President’s public holiday… I don’t know much about JFK, I was a kid living in Africa when he was assassinated. I remember the shock and grief, and the enormous headline on the front page of our daily newspaper.

    1. So happy you enjoyed the quote, Rosie – it’s fun trying to find a presidential quote that I find interesting or inspiring. Wonder what I’ll come up with next year. 🙂 About the enormous headline, it still amazes me how much what happens here interests people in other lands, and how little we seem to be interested in them. Unless they have oil or something else we think we need…

  6. I well remember the day JFK was assassinated. My father came home from General Dynamics and as as we were eating our dinner he cried, which was the only time I ever saw him cry. I was 9. I knew at that time that this was an event to be remembered. Thanks for your insights which are unexpected.

    1. Susan, thank you so much for sharing your memory of your father’s feelings about the shocking news. For those of us who were children when JFK was assassinated that day seems to be etched in our memories because of the reactions of the adults around us, even if we weren’t old enough to fully comprehend what was happening.

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