MIAMI (CBSMiami) — On a recent visit to South Florida, Joe Kennedy – grandson of the late Bobby Kennedy – talked about his family’s legacy and the 50th anniversary of his great-uncle’s assassination.
“It’s obviously an emotional anniversary for me and I think all members of my family,” said Kennedy, the latest member of the storied family to enter Congress, elected to the House of Representatives last year from Massachusetts.
Joe Kennedy has little interest in treating the Kennedy assassination like it was a parlor game. He doesn’t buy into or discuss conspiracy theories, magic bullets or the grassy knoll. Instead he focuses on the larger meaning of President Kennedy’s mission.
“I think the thing that sticks with me more than anything is President Kennedy’s commitment to public service and his call for public service and his request and challenge to every American to find ways to contribute in some way or another back to your country,” he said before attending a Democratic Party event this week at The Biltmore Hotel.
Kennedy said soon after he arrived in Washington both Republican and Democratic members of Congress talked to him about how inspired they were personally by John F. Kennedy’s call to service.
“You know I think that from someone who is serving in Congress and who’s gotten to know many of the members, I think that what often doesn’t get portrayed is that almost every single person there – almost – is trying to do what they genuinely believe is the right thing for the country,” he said.
Kennedy even made headlines saying members of the Tea Party deserve respect because they are merely representing the views of the people who voted for them.
“And when you look at how many people across our country are finding ways to serve, whether that’s military service, whether that through volunteerism like the Peace Corp, I was a Peace Corp volunteer, or VISTA, AmeriCorps, the local soup kitchen, food pantries or church service,” he says, “people are finding more ways to give back and I think it is still a message that resonates.”
One other topic his great-uncle is forever identified with is Cuba. Whether it was the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bay of Pigs, or the embargo enacted more than 50 years ago, the island nation weighed heavily on the Kennedy Presidency.
Asked if as a member of Congress he supported the embargo his great uncle started, he said he hadn’t really thought about it. Adding the topic doesn’t come up much with his constituents in Massachusetts.