Saturday, November 22, 2008

45 Years

I can't let this day end without commenting on the fact that 45 years ago today, President John Kennedy was assassinated. Even all these years later, I can still feel some of the emotion from that day.

I was a fifth grader at Scenic Hills Elementary back in Springfield, PA. Mr. Oravek was my first male teacher, and I really liked the class. On Friday November 22, 1963, he was leading our class in a discussion of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. During that discussion, he received a call on the intercom from the school secretary, alerting him to what had just happened in Dallas. Our president had been assassinated. He was dead. We were speechless.

School dismissal was a very quiet affair that day. I don't remember much about the 4 block walk home, but I do remember turning on the television the minute I got in the house. I remained glued to the set for the remainder of the weekend. I remember attending Sunday School on Sunday morning, and upon returning home, I switched the TV back on, just in time to watch Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald right on live TV. If memory serves me, the funeral was on Monday, and we must have had the day off from school, because I remember every bit of it. The caison carrying the coffin, Jacqueline Kennedy's brave face sheilded by a black veil, John-John saluting his father's casket.

It seems like only yesterday somehow, yet so long ago. Less than two months later, the Beatles would make their US television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show (which I also remember watching), and the 60's were taking shape as the decade of unrest, protest, revolution, and free love. So many things happened in the years that followed, but none that grabbed the nation quite so completely as the day that shot rang out across the grassy knoll in Dallas.

1 comment:

Brian Megilligan said...

I missed that that day was the anniversary--didn't even see a thing about it in the news, though I'm sure it was there (I've been a little busy lately).

The only thing I can relate to regarding a presidential assassination was the attempt made on Ronald Reagan. I think I was in third grade or so. I heard about it from some friends while walking home from school, burst into the house and told my mom what I heard. She didn't believe me so we put the TV on and got caught up on the events. Nothing as dramatic as the JFK event.