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I was born in 1969. I wasn't there. I missed the '60's in a big way, though I was old enough a decade later to make my decision that Carter was preferable to Reagan, though I could not vote. I happened to be home sick the day Reagan was shot, and saw it in real time.,

I happened to talk to my father today, about Thanksgiving, and his wife's birthday (which is tomorrow but we're celebrating on Sunday evening) and make plans to drive down to Massachusetts from Maine. The conversation turned to Kennedy, and the assassination.

I asked the question: "Where where you, Daddy, when Kennedy was shot?"

Here's how it went:

Daddy: I was driving home from NU in Boston. I heard the news in the car.

Me: What car? The VW?

Daddy: No, the old DeSoto, there was a radio in that car. We didn't know just what had happened, I was listening though.

Me: So, what happened?

Daddy: We still didn't know. Ask your mother, she always came home from redacted (work, down the street)to see the soaps at work with your great-grandmother. She went back to work. Why are you asking me this?

Me: I just want to know, you know, I want to know.

Daddy: I don't want to talk about it. It was horrible. I don't want to talk about it. But I'll tell you, it was a lot like the First Gulf War: you didn't know what was going to happen, or why it happened. You didn't know. Anything could have happened. It was quite a scare. The Russians could have done anything.

Clearly, it made an impression on my Father. I asked him what the family household thought. Now, I know, because I have asked my grandparents and my great grandmother about it. I know how the house took it. But it's interesting that it still makes the kind of impression on my father, who was a Sophomore in college, that he still doesn't want to talk about it.

Interesting.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was in my third-grade classroom. (16+ / 0-)

    There was a brief flurry at the front of the class (did someone come in and whisper to the teacher? I don't exactly recall) and then the announcement that the president had been shot. The teacher turned on a radio and we listened in silence for awhile.

    President Kennedy's assassination was my very first experience of death (a grandmother had died when I was three and too young to comprehend). That is probably true for many, many people of my age.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:31:34 PM PST

    •  Same here. Third grade... (9+ / 0-)

      ...learning about the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago. Funny what you can remember about things.

    •  I was also in third grade (13+ / 0-)

      ...a parochial grammar school in Springfield, MA. The news came over the PA system, I couldn't make out what the radio voice was saying. I asked another kid & they said the president was shot.

      The nun teaching the class marched us all over to the adjoining church and told us to say the stations of the cross. Then we were sent home. My house was just down the street so I walked. At home my mother was crying and told my sisters, brother and I to kneel at the foot of my parents bed and say a prayer. I think the impression at the time was that the president was still alive. I distinctly remember taking gum out of my mouth and sticking it behind the footboard of the bed before praying. Funny what  the mind remembers.

      •  And one more third-grader. (6+ / 0-)

        Mrs. Kupper's class.  I can't the least recall what was going on in the class, but she got word from the office, telling us first Kennedy had been shot, then a little while later that he was dead.

        We then had a school-wide assembly on the playground (this was Southern California) with some words from the Principal.  I think we were then sent home early.  I remember it was just before Thanksgiving, and I remember watching Oswald killed on TV, since everyone was watching the entire drama of the assassination and aftermath unfold live on air.

        I remember Thanksgiving being very somber that year.

        And now I have lived in Dallas for more than 34 years, 60% of my life thus far.  

        I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

        by tom 47 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:43:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember watching Oswald killed on TV (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueyedace2, The Marti, commonmass

          Yep me too.  Stunning, isn't it?

          I was in 6th grade, 11 years old.  My male teacher cried.  It’s the only time I ever saw a teacher cry in the classroom.  That was as startling to my 11 year old self as the news the president had been assassinated, all of it very sobering.  We were sent home early.

          I remember being angry for quite some time after, that ugly old drawlin' LBJ had replaced my beloved President Kennedy.

          Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead -

          by FlamingoGrrl on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:19:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  3 month old fetus. (11+ / 0-)

    "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." - Woody Allen

    by blueoregon on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:34:30 PM PST

  •  I've spoken to a number of people about (20+ / 0-)

    Kennedy's assassination, and the one thing that stands out the most, even talking to people who were only 5-6 at the time, is this feeling that a lot of people's hope in America died on that day. I think for a lot of people, Kennedy represented what America was capable of. This notion that America could help feed the hungry, end wars, and bring about a just and peaceful world died on that day with Kennedy. As much as people mourn for Kennedy the man, I really think people mourn for what could have been.

    To me, that's the beauty of science: to know that you will never know everything, but you never stop wanting to.

    by JeremySchro on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:39:38 PM PST

    •  Comedy Example of the Times (8+ / 0-)

      There was a hit comedy album in 62-3 spoofing the Kennedies called "The First Family" led by JFK impressionist Vaughn Meader. Obviously it disappeared from the market after the tragedy.

      Here's a brief bit recorded live before an audience, portraying an event at the White House, it's called "The Party" and gives a lighthearted look at the foibles of the family as well as their cultural trappings.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:51:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where I Was Today at Lunch, at Jr. High School (15+ / 0-)

    heading for the marching band room. After most of a lifetime away, we landed up in the town of my early schooling and I was just passing it bringing fast food home to eat this mid day.

    The incident happened at 1:30 Eastern Time and the announcement of death somewhat after 2. So we were sent home. It was a day not much different from today, overcast and cool as I recall.

    The common worry just 1 year after the Cuban Missile Crisis was that this might be some kind of Soviet action. That was the big concern on Friday afternoon. By night time it was clear it wasn't part of some imminent attack or other geopolitical move, so by then we were all focused on the grief of a nation and family.

    But my brother and I watched the shooting of Oswald, and that was shocking. In those postwar days of scores of entertainment gun killings a week victims usually fell down and went cleanly to sleep.

    The sound of Oswald's gutteral call from the impact pulled the curtains back on the fantasy gun deaths of entertainment.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:45:13 PM PST

  •  The JFK assassination (12+ / 0-)

       was the first public event that I can remember.  I was five years old and was probably in kindergarten that day. I heard about it when I got home, I think. The memory is vague; I was still very young. I remember wanting to see the newspaper headline the next day and I don't think my mom let me see it. LBJ was the first President I remembered actually being in office.

        My memories of MLK and RFK were clearer as I was ten years old in 1968. The shooting that affected me most personally was 12/8/1980. That was the night that John Lennon was slain. I was on jury duty the day that Reagan was shot at. I think it was during our lunch break. We were deliberating that afternoon and I was the jury foreman so I made a brief announcement and we got back to the task at hand.

    Diehard Swingnut, disgruntled Democrat, age 55, CA-30

    by Zack from the SFV on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:45:47 PM PST

  •  In the 4th grade in San Diego (9+ / 0-)

    our 2nd year that (Dad was career Navy) ... and can remember being out on the playground and everyone, well, sad. Don't remember if was a normal recess time or if we'd been told to go outside after the news or what ...

    "I like to fill my head with lots of interesting things. That way, the inside of my head is a fun place to be." Pickles, by Brian Crane, 3/17/2013

    by bjedward on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:47:11 PM PST

  •  In first grade in Canada. (7+ / 0-)

    I have no recollection of the event, but I do remember Bobby.

    My children are the joy of my life

    by Tom Stokland on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:47:31 PM PST

  •  The nun who was the principal came into ... (13+ / 0-)

    ... my fifth grade and class and told us the President had been shot. The nun who taught us led all of us in a prayer that he would survive. On the walk down the hill after school was out, the eighth grade boy who lived across the street from us let us all listen to his transistor radio with the announcement that the President had died. For the next four days, my parents were glued to the old black and white. One day over the weekend, I was getting antsy and decided to go out to play. When I walked back inside, I knew something had changed. Daddy said, "The man who shot the President has just been shot." I did the 1963 fifth-grade equivalent of whatever "WTF" was in that day. I never went back outside for fear I'd miss something again.

    Not knowing anything about the continuity of government at that age, I remember thinking LBJ should have waited until at least after the funeral to become President. In my child's mind, it was too soon and seemed disrespectful to Mrs. Kennedy and her children to not even wait until they buried him. But Daddy said, "They have to do that."

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:48:14 PM PST

    •  I was also in a Catholic school - in 6th grade (4+ / 0-)

      Our lay teacher cried when she told us the news and when the principal came in later and said that the President had died, we all sobbed.  Being a Catholic, it seemed that we had a special connection to him and his family.

      We, too, were glued to the old black and white that whole unforgettable weekend.  

  •  Freshman Biology had hard to see demonstrations (12+ / 0-)

    on TV in the classroom. Mid-lesson the tape was stopped and the announcer said that the President had been shot in Dallas and may be dead. School was closed. The grad student who was the counselor in the women's dorm attached to the men's I was in had a fiance who was a Surgical resident at Parkland. A letter he wrote to her that afternoon described the scene when JFK was brought into the ER. His description of the wound and head trauma contradicted the "official version" from the Washington DC autopsies now accepted more or less as the truth.
    Another freshman in my dorm was a rabid Young Republican from Elgin, IL who initially expressed approval of the death until he was warned by several people that he was going to get beaten if he said  that again.

    Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

    by OHdog on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:48:34 PM PST

  •  I was in the classroom (12+ / 0-)

    6th grade. One of the kids had snuck a transistor radio into school and was listening to it by the little earphone they used to have. He started, then put his hand up, but before the teacher called on him, the announcement came over the PA.
    Then the teacher saw the radio, and told him to unplug the earphone so we could all hear. He never did get in trouble for that radio.
    After a while, we were sent home. I'll never forget our cantankerous neighbor proclaiming, that "it served [JFK] right for sticking his nose into people's business."

  •  Likely in a crib or a playpen... (7+ / 0-)

    as I was 1 yr and 10 months old.  

    As an aside, for some time I THOUGHT I remembered the immediate aftermath of the JFK assassination. I have a clear memory of playing on the floor of our family room while my mom was ironing and talking on the phone with someone about "voting for him if he survives".  It was only much later that I realized this must have been right after RFK's assassination given how old I was when JFK was killed.

    •  I have a similar story (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      I was 1 year and 7 months old, and likewise I remember as a child having a memory of it, and talking about it.  I remembered the chair I was sitting in.

      But the same way, I think I was confused with JFK and RFK - the chair I remember sitting in was certainly real, but I don't think my family got it until after we moved to England when I was three.

  •  Sitting in a green 1956 Ford (8+ / 0-)

    ...that belonged to a friend, in the College of Marin parking lot.  I was eating lunch.  The rest of the school day was cancelled.

    Orwell was an optimist.
    My Home Page

    by RepackRider on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:56:26 PM PST

  •  I was still in the womb (6+ / 0-)

    born a month later.... When I was five yrs. old, I remember my family still crying about his death, as well as RFK and MLK deaths, too.... Those were some very sad times.....

    May today be greater than yesterday, and tomorrow be greater than both! Go Ravens!

    by secret38b on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:56:29 PM PST

  •  I was in math class (13+ / 0-)

    5th grade and 11 years old. The teacher went out in the hallway and came back to announce the news. It was a small town school and not many students.

    I'll never forget that one boy, who I had known since Kindergarten, hissed out, "Good! I hope he dies". Everybody turned on him. I was just stunned because I never knew he felt that way. He was probably just repeating what he'd heard at home. I just remember feeling numb.

    After that, school was dismissed and we all went home. I remember that the next few days were spent in front of the television set.

    My mom knew before I did. She was watching "As the World Turns" when Walter Cronkite came on to announce that the President had been shot.

    It was just the beginning though. The 60's were an incoherent mixture of exuberance and horror.

    _Let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people. Robert Kennedy_

    by bogieshadow on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:58:38 PM PST

  •  High school swimming practice... (7+ / 0-)

    at the Stamford CT YMCA (now replaced I believe). I remember hanging on to the side of the pool doing a kicking exercise when the coach came in and told us.

    I really must find a good sig line!

    by Rileycat on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 12:59:11 PM PST

  •  In kindergarten class (9+ / 0-)

    I remember the principal coming in telling us we were being sent home as the president had been shot.  I walked to the babysitters house and watched the rest unfold on the tv.  I specifically remember the doctor in front of the chalk board explaining the path of the bullet.  Sad, strong memory.  

    -6.25 -5.3 If I ever leave this world alive The madness that you feel will soon subside...

    by dansk47 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:00:08 PM PST

  •  What came after is what was important (10+ / 0-)

    I was in my prep school's locker room, having just come in from practice and getting ready to go shower up and get to the late afternoon classes.  It was mostly a pretty somber remainder of the afternoon.  The sweaty, dirty, tired, and a little bruised part is not what sticks in my mind.

    There was a regularly scheduled mandatory chapel later that afternoon, just before diner.  The school's leanings were pretty conservative, but the Chaplin was not (for example, we were regularly treated to William Sloan Coffin).  There was a lot of discussion about courage that evening, and the tragedy of lost leadership in the fight to change the United States.  I remember thinking that it took a bit of courage to say that there.

    We did not get to watch TV at all, or for that matter to listen to radios during most of the day, so I only learned later what various news media personalities had to say.  Comparing that sermon to all the other commentary in my memory at least, our Chaplin did himself proud, and I say that as a boy who generally loathed chapel.

  •  In Russian class (10+ / 0-)

    I was in 7th grade in University City, Mo. During lunch, rumors swirled around the cafeteria that the President had been shot, but nothing definite. First class after lunch was Russian with Mr. Pike. The principal came on the PA system with the announcement. I can still see the twisted look of grief on my best friend's face.

  •  Weekend of Death (12+ / 0-)

    I was in 11th grade biology class when I first heard the news of the assassination over the intercom.  I remember going to my next class, which was typing class, and our typing teacher was crying ... I remember it was on Friday like today.  This was an especially tough weekend because my paternal grandmother passed away the next morning, Saturday morning.    And then on Sunday when the family was gathering at my grandmother's house who had passed away there was the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald on TV.  

  •  High school trigonometry class (10+ / 0-)

    in St. Pete Florida, when the principle came on the intercom to announce the news that the President had been shot.  We did not know then that he had been killed and it was only after I got home that we saw it on the news that the President was dead. Ironically, I had skipped school four days earlier on Monday to go with friends to see him speak in Tampa.  

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:20:00 PM PST

  •  6th grade at St Gregory's elementary in... (7+ / 0-)

    Samuels, KY. I was playing basketball during afternoon recess. The bell never rang. I went inside and all the nuns were in the cafeteria crying. :(

    I'm not paranoid or anything. Everyone just thinks I am.

    by Jim Riggs on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:22:02 PM PST

  •  I was ten. (10+ / 0-)

    I remember we were in our car and I was hanging over my mother's shoulder, looking at a small grove of trees ahead of us and trying to estimate how much longer it would be till we were at Grandma's house.  Us four kids had been allowed the day off school because a guy who worked for our father was getting married than evening.

    The radio was playing and all of a sudden an announcer broke in with the news that President Kennedy had been shot.  I vaguely recall being at Grandma's (we had been at most 20 minutes away at the time of the original announcement) and hearing the news that he was dead.

    Mostly what I remember about that day after being in the car was wandering around the hall at the wedding reception and noticing that not one of the adults was talking about the assassination.  A few days later I asked my mother about that and she said it would have been very rude to talk about something that upsetting at what was supposed to be a happy occasion.

    I remember watching Oswald get shot.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:23:28 PM PST

  •  I was only a (10+ / 0-)

    few years old, but one of my very earliest memories was of my parents crying while they were watching TV. And that blew my mind, because even though I'd seen Mommy cry I never saw my Daddy cry (before or after), let alone cry at a tv show! When I got older, I asked--they confirmed that must've been the day of the funeral, cuz Dad didn't work that day and they watched it together.

    The John-John salute? My mom came completely unglued. I think that's why the memory is still there, fifty years later. mr. luna has been glued to telly these last couple of weeks, and I've caught more than one JFK documentary with him. So sad, to this day, still. That's the day this country started the downward spiral to the hell we find ourselves in now, IMO. It could have been so different.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:26:04 PM PST

  •  I was a high school senior (8+ / 0-)

    We were living in California, but my parents and I were Massachusetts natives. We were Catholic and JFK was our guy. It hit us very hard.

    I wrote a diary about my Nov 22, 1963 and published it this morning. You can find it here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:29:39 PM PST

  •  I was in Miss Kyle's second grade class. (10+ / 0-)

    I was 7 years old. The principal, Mr. Haight, came to the room and spoke with her at the door in a whisper. She came away upset, tears welling up in her eyes. I think it was the principal that told us to walk in line, quietly, to our coats and boots. We were going home early because someone shot the president.

    I didn't understand why someone would shoot the president. Wasn't he second only to Jesus?
    Then I saw Ruby shoot Oswald later on. I saw it many times until my mother turned off the tv and told my older brother and me to find something to do- go play.

    As with the Cuban missile crisis, my parents maintained a normalcy in our household for our benefit. My sister was 3 and didn't really understand. My younger brother was days shy of being 7 months old.

    I did, over time, note a change in everything. The farm was the same. The weather didn't waver from normal for the seasons. But people were different in the way they talked and what they said. That change sort of morphed into the social upheaval of the late sixties. It grew into it.

    Fast forward to 9/11/2001. For those of you too young to remember JFK's assassination, yeah. It was very much like that. The change of mood and temperament in the nation. A lot like the very heavy, loud turning page on 9/11/01.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:31:22 PM PST

  •  I was walking home from school (8+ / 0-)

    I was in the third grade in 1963, and I found out about Kennedy being shot from some older girls walking home on the sidewalk in front of me, one of them said "KENNEDY HAS BEEN SHOT!", and I was concerned as much as a 8 year old could be.

    Once I arrived on my block, a bunch of the neighbor ladies were gathered on the front porch of my aunt (this was 1963, most of them were stay at home housewives).  My Mom was there with the other ladies.  I ran up to my Mom screaming- "Mommy is it true that Kennedy has been shot"?,  she seemed a little upset someone had already told me, but then she said "yes honey, its true."

    Why they didnt tell me in school, I dont know, maybe they thought 8 year olds were too young to be told without their parents present.  I do remember sometime in the afternoon, my teacher being called to the "office".  When she came back, she seemed close to tears.  She looked right at me, like maybe she needed someone's shoulder to cry on.  (She and I were very close, she knew I was Catholic so maybe she thought I would be especially saddened by the news).  But I think she was ordered not to tell us, so the poor lady was left to deal with the grief on  her own.

    The neighbor ladies were taking turns alternately crying, my cousin was there, and he , being the little man, kept saying, "Im not going to cry."   I seconded that.  But eventually, I started crying, my Mom and the other ladies comforted me.  

    My Mom took me home, we only lived 2 houses down from my aunt on the same street.    My Mom had the tv on, with the somber voice of some anchorman.  My Dad got home from work.  Being a union tool and die maker, and Catholic to boot, and a staunch Democrat, his first words to my Mom were in his straight-up blue collar way-  "ISNT THIS A BITCH!"  and my Mom agreed.

    The next few days were days forever ingrained in my memory of my classmates various ways of dealing with the news.  One group of my neighbors kids took to parading back and forth down the street with an American flag. (perhaps imitating what they saw on tv).

    It was another time,  a bittersweet, more innocent time.  Thinking of that day brings back memories of my dear parents, both of whom have passed away. God rest their souls, and the soul of that dear man, John Kennedy!

  •  I was at home with my 1-1/2 year old baby (8+ / 0-)

    girl.  A neighbor called and told me to turn on the teevee,
    but she would not tell me why.  I watched as Walter
    Cronkite delivered the horrifying news.  50 years later, as I saw it again today, I got the same sick feeling.  The country changed forever that day and not for the better.

    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything - unknown

    by incognita on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:39:19 PM PST

    •  You know, I carry some water for LBJ (5+ / 0-)

      because of what he did for us that we still benefit from. But today, I'm with JFK.  I cannot imagine how that felt.

      •  It was just mind-numbing. This has been an awful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass

        week, having to re-live it all over again.  I agree with you
        about LBJ.  He fulfilled Jack's legacy and then some.
        As you may remember, I am a Bostonian and had some ties with the Kennedy family.  Not close, but I had met Jack and Jackie at Mass in Hyannis.  Dave Powers, one of his aides, is my cousin, 2 times removed.  I think everyone in Boston
        felt Jack was a family member.

        If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything - unknown

        by incognita on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:39:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They called us to our home rooms. (8+ / 0-)

    I was in school in New Jersey. 14 at the time, so I guess I was in 7th or 8th grade. It was about 2:30 in the afternoon and we got out at 3:00pm, so it was puzzling to go back to home room. I remember the Principal coming on the intercom and giving us the news. Everyone just sat stunned. There was sort of a silent panic, and I remember some people crying and some people just kind of staring.

    All weekend was spent in front of the B/W teevee watching everything. This was the era of rabbit ears (sometimes topped with aluminum foil for better reception) and there were only 3 channels. I'm sure my brother and I were the "channel changers".

    I do remember seeing LHO getting shot live on the screen. That was pretty shocking, even for my young mind. The whole weekend and through the funeral was sort of a blur.

    Peace.

    Abortion Clinics OnLine, the world's first and largest source for online abortion clinic information. Join my DK Abortion Group.

    by annrose on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:40:10 PM PST

  •  I was 16. (7+ / 0-)

    Home in bed with a high fever - had my tonsils out a few days before and had developed an infection. My Mother was really worried about me and she was sitting reading to me when my brother burst in yelling that the President had been killed.

    He was, and is, a terrible prankster so at first we didn't believe him. It was just the type of thing he'd say to get everyone riled up. So he turned on my radio.

    After that it was Mom saying the rosary and brother watching tv and listening to three different radio stations. And Dad called from work - something he never did.

    I hardly reacted at all; probably because of the fever. I didn't really feel anything until days later when watching the funeral. What a bleak time.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 01:53:23 PM PST

  •  Each generation seems to get its day of infamy... (8+ / 0-)

    for my parents' generation, it was Pearl Harbor.  For mine, it was that day in Dallas.

    I was in third grade at the time, doing what 3rd graders do.  Well, what this 3rd grader was doing....trying to learn what the good Sister was trying to teach us in those days of chilly autumn before the first snow flies, before we're so distracted by the coming holidays that we cannot focus on our workbooks.

    In the middle of the lesson, our school priniciple came to the classroom door, and had a hushed conference with our teacher, then came into the room.  We all got to our feet, as that was what we did back then.  She announced in tones I'd never heard from her before, that the President had been shot in Dallas.  

    The girl behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "What did she say??" and I repeated it.  You could feel the waves of shock and anxiety in that room.  A roomful of eight year olds had just had their world changed forever in ways we wouldn't really comprehend for a very long time.

    He was our President.  The first Roman Catholic President.  The only way to convey what that means, is to think of how we felt when Barack Obama was elected.  

    And even though my skin is Gaelic White, PBO is my President, my hope for the future, my champion of all that is good and right with this country.  The years since his election, and all the problems and disappointments that have come with it, have not dimmed those feelings.  

    "Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot."  Our innocence died that day in Dallas.  And nothing, nothing has ever been the same.

    Thanks for letting me get that out.
    Blessed be.
    Marti

    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:12:18 PM PST

  •  Still over a decade from being born (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, The Marti, commonmass

    Carter was prez when I came around.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:29:29 PM PST

  •  Junior High School 172, Queens (6+ / 0-)

    I was in the 8th Grade. Commented on someone else's diary earlier but the details are always in transition.

    We were in whichever class we happened to be in. The school principal's voice came over the PA system instructing us all to return to our home room (mine was on the first floor; funny what we remember, isn't it?). Our home room teachers gave us the news and we were sent home.

    JFK was extremely popular in my neighborhood; it's amazing how quiet the trip home was. For the most part, we simply cried. There was a notion that heads of state only got killed in other countries (it had happened in Vietnam only weeks earlier), or that presidents only got killed in other eras; after all, the last president to have been taken out by an assassin was McKinley. Such notions went out the window that day.

  •  I was a 1 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shippo1776, The Marti, commonmass

    year old toddler.  I can't remember the event (just the many repetitions of the story), but I was supposedly hugging my mother who was crying uncontrollably in front of the TV.

    I DO remember MLK, Jr.'s and RFK's assassinations in '68. I was 6 and it terrified me. Between that and Vietnam, I grew up thinking the world a very terrifying, insecure, place. Then there was the Cold War and nuclear standoff.

    "I was not born for myself alone, but for my neighbor as well as myself."--Richard Overton, leader of the Levellers, a17th C. movement for democracy and equality during the English Civil War. http://www.kynect.ky.gov/ for healthcare coverage in Kentucky

    by SouthernLeveller on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 02:56:07 PM PST

  •  fourth grade (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WaryLiberal, The Marti, commonmass

    We were just doing what we always do when our teacher, (Miss Beaks) was called into the hallway by our principal...she came back into the room with several shades of white and red on her face, told us and burst into tears.  Oh geez.  This memory is still very fresh; excuse me while I take my own turn at a good sob.

  •  13 years old, junior high (4+ / 0-)

    I've written about November 22, 1963 on many occasions, most recently (i.e., this morning) here.

    I'll always be UID:180, even if Markos tries to pry it away.

    by N in Seattle on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:05:40 PM PST

  •  I was only about two weeks old (3+ / 0-)

    But I've always been proud that I managed to be born during the Kennedy presidency.

    "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

    by Nespolo on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:36:20 PM PST

  •  8th Grade (4+ / 0-)

    Lunch time at Jr High here in the Midwest.

    Hell of an empty feeling.

    Remember the TV being on all that weekend. In our house at that time TV was really a limited thing.

    "Nothing endures but personal qualities." - Walt Whitman

    by Illinois IRV on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:54:33 PM PST

  •  Freshman at Berkeley…. heard in dorm. (3+ / 0-)

    We were stunned, cried, sat in darkened dorm room with lit candles listening to Joan Baez  all evening.
    Went home Thanksgiving and my Mom said it was the best thing that ever happened to the country. ..The Mom I had always respected…I knew she was lifelong Republican.. BLAMED FDR for Depression etc etc

    Stopped respecting her a bit that evening…and became a Democrat!

    Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial,Multigender and MiddleClass

    by LOrion on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:54:55 PM PST

  •  I was not quite 1 (3+ / 0-)

    I lived in DC and my father was supposed to pick up the body when it was returned to the Capitol. He called around as the only hearse they had was a junker with mis-matched doors, so the 'honor' was passed to the Navy or the Air Force (I forget which). They had a brand new hearse...  

    Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages.-Terry Pratchett

    by Shippo1776 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 03:59:53 PM PST

  •  I was 14 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    Want to know more? I'm remembering in my Top Comments diary tomorrow evening.

  •  Hanging out in the H.S. library (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    where I'd meet up with my friends from other study halls. We were sneaking popcorn when our star tennis player walked in with tears streaming down her face. There was a shuffle of people shifting around to see what was wrong, when the announcement came that the President had been shot.

    You never saw a quieter bunch of 500 teenagers than we were as we left school that day.

  •  Where were you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    I was one of 9 children in an Irish Catholic family in NJ. My Mom was active in the local party, and was so energized by an Irish Catholic running for President that she recruited all of us to help. I remember stuffing envelopes and going door to door to canvas when Kennedy ran in 1960, when I was 10. Being Irish American was something that set us apart. I guess we all over identified with President Kennedy.
    In the 1962 Cuban missile crises, in school we practiced hiding under the desks, but my older brother told me that we lived too close to Fort Dix and McGuire AFB to live if war came. We pretended that we were not afraid, but we were.
    In 1963 I was in 8th grade, and they sent us home early. No announcement, just fear. I was late for the bus and distinctly remember scrambling to grab some books, looking up at the clock, and hearing a crying teacher say "the President has been shot". I didn't believe her, and rushed home to tell my Mom, but when I got home she was crying in front of the TV. We lived in front of the TV that weekend.
    Everyone says the assassination of President Kennedy was the end of innocence, but part of that innocence was denial of things already happening and already starting. There was always the fear of nuclear war during the early 60s that was in the back of our minds that weekend too. There was the beginning of the Civil Rights fights, free speech at Berkley, a new generation about to go off on a spree of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
    But I will always remember that day.

  •  My first thought: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    so much for being in college. LBJ is just going to send us black folk back to the cotton fields. Mind you, this was before the assassinations to come: RFK, MLK.

    I was a junior. I'd gotten a flu bug, and was waiting for the next available doctor in the student infirmary. And when she came out to the waiting room, she announced that JFK had died.

    We spent the next days glued to the TVs in our dorm rec rooms. The silence was deafening inside and out. Nothing but TV and tears on a campus of 16,000 students.

    We have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?

    by Bendra on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:08:46 PM PST

  •  Second grade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    The news came over the intercom system in my classroom...my teacher cried.  I had never seen that happen.  We were sent home early from school, and when I came home my mother was crying too.  I has never seen adults in my world cry....it was a very surreal experience.  I remember being so puzzled...why would someone do this?  Why would someone kill a president?

    Wisconsin: It's war, you know. We didn't start it, but we'll keep fighting in it until we win

    by isewquilts2 on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 06:40:50 PM PST

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