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Where were you today, fifty years ago?


Becket
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Cold and rainy in Dallas today. Fifty years ago this day JFK was murdered here. There will of course be remembrances here, and all over the country. Share your recollections of that day. (Yes, that means we all get to figure out how old you are.)

 

I remember very little. I was in first grade, and they sent us home from school early. What I remember is that our housekeeper was crying, saying over and over again, "They shot my president. They shot my president." Her face and sadness I will never forget.

...Somebody's going to emergency. Somebody's going to jail.

You find somebody to love in this world you better hang on tooth and nail. The wolf is always at your door.

Don Henley

 

 

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I was in the junior high band room when an announcement was made over the school intercom. I thought to myself

"Is this for real, or some strange practical joke?".

 

(I skipped a couple of grades in school, I was 11 years old in the eight grade. That saves you the math and guessing).

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I was in study hall in high school when, all of a sudden, a girl screamed and started crying. Then a few more. Since we were not allowed to have transistor radios!!! (yeah, I'm that old) in study hall, everyone started looking around to see who the criminal was and then we all started talking at once.

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I was a college student in Pennsylvania. As I walked across campus, I saw a group of students standing around a stopped car, listening to the radio. I asked what was going on, and they said the President had been shot in Dallas. I was amazed, because I had been visiting a friend in the college infirmary only an hour before, and the TV news had been on there, showing the Kennedys arrival at Love Field. I was on my way to the barber, because it was Friday afternoon, and I was planning to go cruising at a gay bar that night. I went on to the barber shop, which was crowded and buzzing with the news. As I sat in the chair getting my hair cut, the radio announced that the President was dead. The room became very quiet for a moment, and then a more subdued buzz began again. Everyone was speculating on what had happened, and what it would mean.

 

On Sunday afternoon, when it was announced that the Capitol would remain open as long as people wanted to come through to pay respects, five classmates and I immediately made the decision to drive to DC. We got there after dark, and spent the entire night on the enormous line of people snaking through the streets toward the Capitol. Just as the sun was coming up, we climbed the Capitol steps, and filed slowly past the casket. Then we found the route that the funeral procession would take from the Capitol to St. Matthew's, wrapped ourselves in our coats, lay down on the cold sidewalk and went to sleep. We were awakened by the murmuring in the crowd, and stood up to see the procession of official mourners walk past us, following the riderless horse. I was close enough to recognize members of the Kennedy family and the foreign dignitaries--I could have reached out to touch Charles de Gaulle and Emperor Haile Selassie. And then they were gone, and it was time to go back to school and try to resume our normal life.

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I had been drafted in April. After basic training, I was assigned to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. I was a payroll clerk and the Sgt in charge made an announcement. The entire Fort Sam Houstion was placed on alert, as it was feared that the murder of the President was part of a plot to attack the USA.

JFK: Hope you are resting in peace...

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Guest countryboywny

I was in 3rd grade. My teacher was called out of the classroom and when she returned, she announced the terrible news and told us that school was dismissed. I went home to find my mother in tears. I didn't fully comprehend the events of that day, but finding my mother crying told me it was bad. I'll never forget that day.

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Guest Starbuck

4th grade ... 9 years old ... a rumor that the President had been shot circulated among the kids on the playground during a recess ... no idea who got the news first or how. When we went back into the classroom, we asked the teacher about it and she said, "Yes, it's true. Now let's bow our heads in silent prayer." (This was a public school, but I distinctly remember that we still said prayers out loud in those days. Each day started with the National Anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer. However, my fourth grade teacher was Jewish and in her class we "silent prayed." Odd the little details you remember amid the big events.)

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The remembrances today in Dallas were simple and dignified. I was glad to see they finally paved over the "X marks the spot" on the street, where the shooting actually happened. (Yes, there really was a big X on the street. Had been there for years. People would stand on the spot and get their picture taken. Really morbid.) It was cold and rainy today. I think the "powers that be" handled the entire remembrance here with a quiet dignity and reverence. The city of Dallas continues to carry the stain of this day, though it lessens as time passes. I can remember when many just thought of Dallas as "that place where JFK died." Tomorrow we move on. A basketball game, a symphony playing a concert, Christmas shopping. Just like any other big city. In fifty more years they'll do this all over again. Life goes on.

...Somebody's going to emergency. Somebody's going to jail.

You find somebody to love in this world you better hang on tooth and nail. The wolf is always at your door.

Don Henley

 

 

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