THE death of Ted Sorensen at age 80 coincided with the 50th anniversary of the election to the presidency of Jack Kennedy, his friend and his mentor.
The two collaborated on "Profiles in Courage" and on what I consider to be the best inaugural address in American history.
Washington received snow on that Inauguration Day, but much to the chagrin of the nation's hatters, both sane and mad, the young president was hatless as he spoke.
The words rang - "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
The words sang - "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
The words banged - "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
President Kennedy was not a good enough actor to not have those words come from his heart.
He had known combat. He knew firsthand that the price paid for tempting "them with weakness" is paid by young men - both his brothers in arms and his brother in flesh.
He also knew, although he chose a later occasion to say it, that "a rising tide lifts all boats" when it comes to tax reductions.
Finally, he knew what this nation was about.
At Rice University on Sept. 12, 1962, President Kennedy said: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
Every president since has been affected by Kennedy, and many of their failures can be traced to trying to be Kennedy without truly understanding him.