President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago this month. George Goethals, an expert on presidential leadership and heroes, reflects on the anniversary and collective memory.

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In the next several weeks, a great deal will be written and spoken about the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated 50 years ago on Nov. 22, 1963.

That anniversary will fall on a Friday, as did Kennedy's murder in Dallas.

While nobody who was sentient at the time is likely to misremember Kennedy's assassination — or the funeral that followed it, or the killing of his assassin on national television — recollections of Kennedy's presidency are not so pure. Human memory is imperfect in many ways. At best, it is selective. Much worse, memory is prey to numerous biases, errors and distortions.

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Professor, E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies
Presidential Leadership
Peer Interaction and Performance
Heroes