Presidents Day is often a day to reflect on our past presidents and many times wishing we had them back. I remember watching John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural address on a small, by today’s standards, black and white television. In school we were made to memorize those famous words, “Ask not what your country can do for you….”. I still recall vividly, as a boy, watching the tradgedy in Dallas and being glued to the screen as the unimaginable poured over the air waves and into our hearts and minds. As a result of this early experience, I spent a great deal of time in my later youth studying the man. I, like most of the country, became fascinated with all things “Kennedy”. How those pictures of a riderless horse or a little child’s salute still move us. Little did we know and less did we suspect that these events would be a prelude to events yet to unfold.
As I reflect on these events, I am often puzzled by why I found this time and this president so inspirational.JFK Desk Plaque I think it was the message of hope and change that we can be all we can be. That somehow, despite the trials that will surely come, we can reach for the moon. I remembered a desk plaque that President Kennedy held in particular favor. A plaque that recites the Breton Fisherman’s prayer “O God, Thy sea is so great and my boat is so small”. (The picture on the right is the original from the JFK museum) The story goes that Admiral Rickover, the father of the modern nuclear navy, had this little bronze desk plaque and the new president expressed his admiration. Admiral Rickover presented the president with this plaque which sat on the president’s desk in the oval office. This was latter adapted in the television series “The West Wing” as “O Lord, thy sea is so vast and my boat is so small”. This little desk plaque has become American Lore. It has also always been one of my favorite quotes.
I had no idea at the time that quotes and plaques would become my passion and my business.(This still astounds me). JFK desk plaque One of the first plaques I ever made with my laser was this quote. That first plaque even bore the little ship logo which become the logo of Fishers Laser Carvers. I still wanted to create a replica of the original plaque which now resides in The John f. Kennedy Museum. The original is cast brass mounted on mahogany wood. I decided to try to make this on cherry as with my other desk plaques. Not a copy or reproduction, I would rather call this an interpretation or tribute to the little plaque that influenced me so long ago. So,if I may, “Let the word go forth”, here is my little rendition. A little piece of work that represents so much of my life and my thoughts. A simple thing that has moved me and moves me still.Something new gleaned from something very old. Who Knows? Perhaps we can still “light the globe.”