Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where were you forty-five years ago today?

Today is the anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination. As with many all-important dates, most people remember where they were and what they were doing when the happening happened.

My mother and father remember where they were when the Pearl Harbor attack happened. I don’t remember that – I wasn’t here yet.

But I DO remember when Kennedy was assassinated. I was in college (yes, dears, I’m THAT old!), just finishing lunch on a Friday, and was sitting with friends in the lounge of the Commons Building, waiting for my next class. The receptionist was playing some music over the loudspeaker.

Then the music stopped and she turned the radio on; as we listened in disbelief, the announcer said that Kennedy had been shot and had just been rushed to the hospital; there was no information about whether he was alive or dying or even dead.

My next class was World History with a professor who prided himself on public speaking as well as his information of current events. He had the radio playing so we could hear the announcement of Kennedy’s death.

The professor said something that I am sure was momentous that we should remember to our graves, but I was crying so hard I didn’t register anything he said except “class dismissed.”

We had no classes for the rest of the day and so sat around the radios, listening. Some lucky enough to have access to TV were able to watch the news. But all of my friends and I got to a TV for the funeral.

This was also just a week before Thanksgiving, so everyone’s Thanksgiving that year was subdued, quiet and sad.

Norm was in the Army, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was in the mess hall, having lunch. He was put on alert, as all military bases were. Because the president had been assassinated, there was a possibility that it was a planned take-over of the government by some unknown powers or countries.

Many history books and many political people have differing opinions about how Kennedy ran his office and whether he was a great president or not, but he was MY president! He was the first one I was allowed to vote for. He was the president of my young adult years. He also was the first president in many, MANY years to be assassinated, so for us “moderns,” he WAS the first.

So on this day, I will take time to think of this great man and what he meant to me and to the country. Perhaps this is a time to think of other important dates in American History that we should all pause and say a brief prayer. Perhaps a prayer of thanksgiving that even though such terrible crimes do happen, this great country of ours still thrives, still grows, still goes on.



Far Side of Fifty said...

Wonderful post! It was a day we never forget. I was in seventh grade, social studies class when the teacher rolled in a television for us to watch. The girls all cried and some of the boys was a very sad day for America.

Jan said...

Yes, I do remember. I was in Paris, France. The whole city closed down and I didn't know why (Didn't speak French) When they showed me the headlines I was stunned. As a 20 year old I could make sense of it. He was a good president and got this country going. I will always remember that day.

Candy Duell said...

I was in 6th grade, in school and they sent us home early, and my father was a wreck as he was in NYC working, and was afraid there was going to end being much trouble somewhere, he did not know who what or where, but was very nervous. And wouldn't you know it, our TV broke the next day. My mom went next door to watch the news.

jayedee said...

i was in first grade.....i remember everyone crying, even the principal--tough staunch stoic lutheran that he was. my parents spoke in whispers alot during the coming days, and hugged us all alot.

Kati said...

*chuckle* I wasn't even a gleam in my dad's eye. Dad was only 14 and my Mom was only just 6 years old.

prayers that no matter how bad a president may be, no matter how many people dislike him, no president's family ever has to go through the pain of watching their husband and father die in such a way again.

alphawoman said...

I was very surprised to see in both local papers that I read on Saturday that he was not memtioned in either! Only that famous photo of he and Bobby sitting across from each other in front of a large window talking about national security. Sad that it is not news worth anymore. Sad.

alphawoman said...

ps - made it here from Far Side of Fifty

goodshepherd said...

I was in the first grade. The teachers all met in the hallway, and spoke in 'hushed' voices. We had to fold our arms and put our heads down on our desks. It was raining outside in North Liberty Iowa on that dark, cold November day. A day that I will never forget, as long as I live. There was no school the next week, and we watched the funeral on the babysitters' TV set in the basement. I remember the casket, and the riderless horse. And stoic little John-John saluting his deceased father. Very, very sad.