In 1961, President Kennedy declared physical fitness to be a national priority. He urged all schools to create fitness programs. This was one of the advertisements for the program.
The schools took immediate action. In honor of President Kennedy’s challenge, the high school age students from the army base I lived in at the time walked en masse to their school in Las Cruces, 45 miles away. The younger kids went to school on the base, so we did not participate in that walk; but I remember feeling so excited about it. Our president wanted us to be healthy and he was showing us the way!
When I watched this video two years ago, I was struck by how thin we were during those years.
As I was putting together this post, a friend told me about a video of a boys high school physical education class in the 60’s.
I wonder what school physical education programs look like in 2016.
Written for Challenge for Growth Prompt #12: Honoring My Body
Friends have sent me two powerful and mesmerizing videos recently. I thought both were excellent and hope you find them to be as valuable as I did.
The first is a talk by Dr. Vadana Shiva. She has been described as an author, activist, pioneer, scientific advisor and mother.
The second is a September 12, 1962 speech by President John F. Kennedy. As you listen to it, consider how we can apply his words to solving the problems we are facing in the world today.
Today is the 52nd anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. At the time, I was fifteen-years-old and was living at Ft. Shafter army base in Honolulu, Hawaii. Months before he was murdered, President Kennedy had visited Hawaii and I had gone to the parade. I have treasured this picture ever since then.
Prior to moving to Hawaii, I had lived at White Sands Missile Range army base in New Mexico. As the result of President Kennedy’s fitness challenge, the high school students from the base walked the 27 miles to Las Cruces.
I was too young to participate in that walk but I was definitely inspired by it and hoped to do something like it in the future. I was also excited when President Kennedy started the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). I was so proud to be an American.
His death in 1963, followed in 1968 by the deaths of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, was quite a blow to my idealism. As crushing as those memories are, I feel blessed to have been alive during that time. And all three of them will always serve as role models for me.
Note: This is not a photograph I took myself. I have no memory of how I obtained it since it wouldn’t have been available at the time of the parade. I suspect that I purchased it, or it was given to me, soon after the experience.