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Where were you when you heard that John F. Kennedy was assassinated?

  1. TDowling profile image88
    TDowlingposted 2 years ago

    November 22, 1963 (and the ensuing days) was a time that's imprinted in the minds and hearts of Americans who lived through it. What's you most vivid recollection of that weekend 50 years ago?

    1. TDowling profile image88
      TDowlingposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Notice the question says: "when you heard" the news. You may not have been born yet, but somewhere in your life you learned that an American president had been assassinated. When was that? What was your reaction?

      1. IslandBites profile image87
        IslandBitesposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        He was not the first one. So I have no idea when I learned that, nor I remember my reaction. I do not think there was any significant reaction, to be honest.

      2. psycheskinner profile image82
        psycheskinnerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I think I first heard of it so young and then heard about it so often that there was no distinct time where I first really knew about it.

        IMHO it is not a "where were you" landmark for my generation.  That would be something like 9/11.

        1. TDowling profile image88
          TDowlingposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          I understand, psycheskinner. As I say in my Hub, I remember so many details about that weekend. It was like it was yesterday.

          Unfortunately, Nov. 22 wasn't the only date associated with an American  assassination. A member of my generation told me she remembers where she was when JFK was assassinated, but not Martin Luther King, Jr. or Robert Kennedy. We grew an emotional scab after John Kennedy was gunned down.

    2. Credence2 profile image85
      Credence2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Hello, TD, so tell us, where were you when you heard the news?

      Kennedy's assassination was a defining point for a generation. America was identified one way before the assassination and became a more cynical nation afterwards in a way that still  haunts us to this day. We lost our youth and innocence at that  moment.  For a matter of fact, the 1960's as I remember them began on November 22, 1963. What defined my dad's  generation was Pearl Harbor,  Dec. 7, 1941 and as the younger one commented, 9-11-2001 was an event of a comparable magnitude for their generation

      I was in a grade school lunchroom at just prior to 12 noon, Mountain time, when I heard the news delivered by a gym teacher. We were all sitting at the table and thought she was joking. Then there were the tears and Walter Cronkite on the TV in the gym, we gathered around. When the President expired, we were sent home for the day. Unfortunately for me, I had a birthday on the 24th. Obviously, there was to be no cake and parties and the only present was a Bible from grand mama, which I still have to this day. There was no fun on TV and the weekend was ruined. Not appreciating the magnitude of what had happened, I asked why did this had to happen on my birthday?

      1. TDowling profile image88
        TDowlingposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Sorry your birthday was ruined, Credence.

        I was a senior in high school on 11/22/63. During the time between periods, as I headed to my next class, a rumor circulated about Kennedy being shot. Soon after my next class began the principal came on the PA and announced the president had been was shot and killed. After a moment of silence we were told classes were cancelled and we could go home.

        I remember so many things vividly from that weekend. As I said in my Hub:

        I see the sights. I hear the sounds. Anew.

        • Thousands of people queuing up, waiting for their brief moment to pay their last respects at the bier in the Capitol Rotunda.

        • The boots in the stirrups of the frisky riderless horse traveling down Pennsylvania Avenue.

        • The somber, guttleral sounds – the rumble of drums and the clack of horses hoofs as they pull the wooden caisson carrying a flag-draped coffin containing the body of America’s 35th president.

        • Tiny John-John Kennedy wearing his Sunday best saluting a flag in his father’s funeral procession.

        • The country mourning as one – glued to their TVs during the weekend ceremonies.

        • Watching with a lump in my throat as Jackie Kennedy stayed strong through it all.

        Those events be with me forever. It so changed the country and me. I'm more cynical about our government. I don't believe the Warren Commission that Oswald acted alone. The latest revelations that the NSA was tapping our phone calls didn't surprise me. I figured that had been happening for decades.

        I love America, but America changed on 11/22/63.

  2. Lisa HW profile image82
    Lisa HWposted 2 years ago

    I was in grade school and don't recall anyone's saying we were getting out early, but we did.  When I got closer to home I saw that my father's car was there, and it was REALLY weird for him to be out of work during the day.

    The family was in the dining room, watching the small tv that was in there - maybe because they needed lunch.  I recall one time when news people said it still wasn't clear how badly the President had been hurt, and my mother said how "it's never good when they say that".  She sent me to the store up the street, and the television was on there too.  I watched it as the man who owned the small store packed up the stew beef I'd asked for.  Still, nobody was saying how badly the President had been hurt.

    It was once I was back home that it was announced that the President had died.  Whether it was then or in the days that followed, it was clear that nobody really knew what they should be doing or saying.  People were just quiet.  Boston's downtown district was quiet, and there were pictures of the President, which were draped in black, seemingly everywhere.

    Besides the "weirdness" and sadness of it all, all I kept thinking was about how Caroline wasn't all that much younger than I; and how much I loved my own father.  All I could think of was how horrible it must have been for her.  I guess kids tend to focus most on what they relate to most.

    The whole event and experience was just so hard to believe, no matter how old or young people were.

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    Beth37posted 2 years ago

    I wasn't born yet, so I can only speak from seeing the clips on TV over the years. The part where Jackie tries to scramble out of the car makes me cry every time. So very sad.