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JFK


(Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

November 22, 2013
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of our 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Many of you are too young to remember or not yet born, and learned from history books and television documentaries about JFK and this devastating event in American history. I remember that day and the subsequent days very clearly. 

(Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

In my household we were big fans of the Kennedys. A Boston native and Irish Catholic like my Dad and the first president of their generation, my parents were delighted when Jack Kennedy was elected president. Early in his presidency JFK flew into the small executive airport where my Dad was employed and literally a few hundred yards from our house. Word had not leaked out so there was just my Dad, brothers and me who stood and waited for President Kennedy’s limousine to drive by. I remember his big, broad smile as he waved at us…it was a thrill I’ve never forgotten. Then in the summer of 1963, my family of six went to Washington, DC for our vacation and toured the Capitol, museums, monuments and the White House. Little did we know that only weeks later the city would receive worldwide focus.

 (Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

On Friday, November 22, 1963, I was a second grader and that school day ended with a childrens bizarre in the church basement. That morning my mother gave me and my older brother, a sixth grader, a dollar to buy toys, candy and crafts at the bizarre. I filled my box with nothing but candy. As a youngster with a mean sweet tooth what else would I buy? After the bizarre ended, I remember being on the sidewalk outside the church with my brother when one of his classmates came up and said “President Kennedy was killed.” Everything stopped for the next three days. There were no kids playing outside; no one shopping; the only thing Americans did that weekend was go to church. Like the entire country my family sat in our living room all weekend glued to the television set with a 14 inch tube, rabbit ears and a slightly fuzzy, black and white picture. The news coverage was wall-to-wall, unheard of for that era and with no commercial interruptions. I remember the flag-draped casket on the caisson, solemn drumbeats, the riderless horse, Mrs. Kennedy’s black veil and John-John’s salute. I am the same age as Caroline Kennedy and I remember feeling so sad that a little girl my age was attending her father’s funeral.

(Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

I have visited the Kennedy Presidential Library, read dozens of books and watched every television documentary on the Kennedy's and the JFK assassination. I always well up with tears even to this day at our nation’s loss, and the loss for young Caroline and John-John. I still wonder … what could have been.

 (Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

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8 comments:

  1. That must be a sad time for you and your family as well :-( in fact I wasn't born at that time too That little girl attending her father's funeral.. Very painful :-(

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    1. Monu, Thank you for your kind remarks.

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  2. I didn't live through that event but have read many books about it and, like you, watched every documentary. My family and I visited the parade route 4 years ago. After 50 years, it's still a very profound event. Thanks for you post.

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    Replies
    1. Paula, Thank you for sharing your memories of your visit to the parade route. If I ever get to Dallas, I'd like to see that and visit the museum in the school book depository.

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  3. Like everyone who is old enough to, I remember where I was and what I was doing when President Kennedy was assassinated and how his death impacted and stunned not only the nation, but the world. They (Jackie and Jack & their children) were the American Royal family. This was a very nice post and I enjoyed seeing some photos here that I hadn't seen before.

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    1. Paula, I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I can imagine that growing up in Canada your experience and feelings were the same as your American neighbors. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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  4. Replies
    1. I agree; the painting is beautiful. It hangs in The White House and it was painted in 1970, seven years after his death. It is my favorite of the Presidential portraits.

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