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Do You Remember When Kennedy Was Shot?

Updated on July 3, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia finds people's memories of great events important to save. She's collected them from friends, family, and fellow writers.

The painting of John F. Kennedy that hangs in the White House.
The painting of John F. Kennedy that hangs in the White House. | Source

Memories of the Death of JFK

The Kennedy assassination happened over 50 years ago but people still remember in great detail where they were and how they felt. Read their memories here.

The shock of hearing that the president had been shot etched that moment into people's minds. Even the very young from preschool and grade school remember the moment.

Relive that moment in American history through the memories of the many who shared their experience with me.

NOVEMBER 22, 1963


Memories from Preschoolers

DLeighAlexander - I was on the family farm in New Mexico with my grandma. I had just turned 4 years old and don't really remember understanding what actually had happened but got the feeling that it was a sad day. I do remember watching John F. Kennedy's funeral on TV a few days later and I remember feeling bad for his children.

Peggy Hazelwood - I was young and being from Illinois, thought that President LINCOLN had died. Oy.

Frischy - I was 4 years old and getting ready to go to a birthday party. I knew about the Kennedy family because they had children near the age of my sister and me. I was a Caroline fan and had even received a Caroline doll as a gift. It was a sad and confusing day.

We went to the birthday party, but it was hard to have fun. All of the moms were in the kitchen crying and the children were at loose ends. I think the children understood a lot more than the mothers thought we did. It made a huge impression on me, even though I was very young.

Memories from Grade School Students

BuddyBink - I was sitting in my third-grade classroom when they announced it over the PA system. I did not understand the meaning of it at the time. Many of the teachers were crying.

Evelyn Saenz - I was in first grade in a two-room schoolhouse with only two teachers, no phones, TV's or radio. No other adults in the school. One of the moms came over and told us that President Kennedy had been killed and that school was dismissed early. The bus was waiting for us outside. When I got home my mom and little sister were in front of the TV crying.

Karen Kolavalli - I was 11 and sitting at my desk at West Branch, the 2-room country school north of El Dorado, Kansas, that we went to. Our teacher told us what happened and we stayed at our desks the rest of the day, listening to the coverage on the teacher's radio. We didn't have a TV at home at that time as far as I can remember. I don't remember my folks talking about it at all, but then, I was just a kid.

Mike - I was only about 10 years old at the time and the first I knew of it was when my mother came in to wake me for school in the morning and said that he had been assassinated. It didn't really mean much to me at the time, but I remember seeing a lot of it on TV.

Frankie Kangas - I was in a class in grammar school. They took us into the library to hear the radio. I sobbed.

Senditondown - I was home from school for the day and was watching TV with my dad. When the regular programming was interrupted, Dad said "Sit up and pay attention, something really big is going on." In just a few moments, we found out just how big...

Coreena Jolene - Our elementary school principal came into the classroom to tell each class. He was in tears. I remember how upset my parents were too.

Tagsforkids - I still remember that day, being in the auditorium in 7th grade when they announced it. I know it was a Friday as my father and grandfather put on a fish fry at the Shriner's every week. Needless to say, it was a very somber evening!

Featured Memory of Kennedy's Assassination (by FullofShoes)

I was a young student, in the classroom and we were watching the Dallas parade on television...a special treat for our 6th-grade class. When the teacher realized what had happened she turned the TV off and asked us to put our heads on our desks and stay quiet. She dashed out of the classroom for a minute or two, I imagine to confirm with others what she thought she had seen. She came back in and told us that the President really had bee

High School Students Remember That Day

AlleyCatLane - I was at high school band practice. When we came off the practice field the choral students told us the president had been shot. It was a horrible time. Everyone was crying.

Mary Beth Granger - I was in a high school home economics class. I can vividly remember everything about the class the teacher, the students, and the reactions. Then I remember going to lunch and getting the announcement that Kennedy had died and everyone was stunned. Amazing how you remember the littlest details of what you were doing when you heard the news.

CruiseReady - Oh, my - I was a junior in high school, and home sick with tonsillitis. Bedded down on the couch, I was watching the Dallas parade on TV when it happened. Immediately got up, went to the phone, and called the school... they didn't believe me at first, even though I was a good student, not prone to pranks. It was a sad time for our country.

Ann Hinds - I was a freshman in high school and our school was out for the day. I had to go to another high school where my mother was the librarian and attend classes there with a friend. It was the 2nd period when we heard the news. Kennedy was wildly popular, especially with the younger generation and it threw our world into darkness.

Virginia Allain - I remember being in high school gym class and the teacher called us over to tell us the news that the president had been killed. We all started crying as we stood huddled together in our navy blue bloomers.

2013 was the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, but people remember it vividly even after all these years.
2013 was the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, but people remember it vividly even after all these years. | Source

College Students Share Their Memories of Kennedy's Assassination

NHgal LM - I was in college at UNH, ironing. I heard it on the radio. The next day, a friend and I went to Boston, as planned, for some shopping. I remember that the big downtown stores had removed all the clothing displays in the storefront windows, and instead, there were big pictures of JFK, surrounded by big pieces of gray or black fabric. We went back to UNH that night and found out that classes had been canceled early for Thanksgiving vacation. If we had known that, we would have skipped the shopping, and gone on home to NJ. But we would have missed seeing how part of Boston mourned.

Joan4 - I was a college student walking down the street in our little college town when another student yelled out the news for all to hear. We were terrified. We gathered in the local ARP church and held a prayer vigil.

We did not have TV in our dormitory and the few on campus were crowded. I remember carloads of kids leaving to go to DC; I remember frantic telephone calls to our parents (on the pay phone in the hallway - no cell phones in those days); I remember being terribly afraid, insecure. The world as we knew it changed that day. We must be sure to tell our children and grandchildren our stories of that time in history. It felt like the world turned upside down.

Ellen Gregory - I was a freshman in college, walking to my music class and everyone time I passed people I could hear them saying "Kennedy". This seemed to be more than just a mention of a president. The instructor said: "I know you are all upset about Kennedy being killed, but we have to hold class anyway. Then, I noticed people were already in tears.

Do You Remember When You Heard about Kennedy's Death?

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Share Your Memories of This Momentous Time in American History

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 8 months ago

      It is a good collection of recollections from that day. I was in the 4th grade. We were watching television when the broadcast was interrupted to report the president had been shot. One kid shouted out "The Cubans did it". When my friend and I got home from school my father told us the president had died.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 8 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      One of those earth-shattering events in history whose date is etched in our minds forever. Where we were, what we were doing, the people present, the way we were informed, our reactions and's all locked away in our memory. I had just entered algebra class & was standing at my desk when our Principal made the shocking announcement over the P.A. system.

      We all gasped, froze in our places and then began to look around at one another.....and the silence was deafening.........