Ask fifty people old enough to have lived through the 1960s to describe that decade and you will get fifty different answers. The common denominator of the sixties was change.
The election of President John F. Kennedy in November 1960 was the first significant change. After the grandfatherly aloofness of the Eisenhower fifties, the forty-two-year-old Kennedy was the youngest president ever elected. One of his favorite words was "vigor," and vigor is what he, his wife Jacqueline, and their family brought to the spirit of the country. Eisenhower loved to play golf, and the sporting metaphor of his presidency was a foursome of older Republican white men taking care of, or ignoring, the country's business on the links. The youthful Kennedy encouraged a more active national lifestyle. Kennedy urged fifty-mile hikes and raised standards for physical fitness. The sports metaphor for the Kennedy years was his large IrishCatholic family, brothers and sisters and cousins and nephews and nieces, men and women, boys and girls, playing touch football on the White House lawn.