Time passes

Joined Sep 19, 2003
Iwas a 5th grade student at St. Mary's Star of the Sea. Sister Michael Daniels had just finished whacking my hands with a ruler because I didn't do the Palmer Method writing excercises correctly. Mother Marguerite interrupted on the PA speaker, announcing that we were to form single file lines to go across to the church.
Once in the church, Father Monmonier announced that the president had been shot, and that we would pray the rosary for him. We did. then we returned to school.
There, we found out that the president had died. Patty Murphy, who sat beside me, burst into tears. Even the nun's were crying.(A scary sight when you're 11) School was dismissed and the church was opened for voluntary prayer services. Most of us ran home. Where were you?
Joined Dec 4, 2001
I had just turned 15. It was a Friday evening and my parents were out. I was watching TV - a show called Burke's Law where Gene Barry played this millionaire detective in LA called Amos Burke.
It was 8.20pm (there is a 6 or 7 hour time difference between UK and Texas) and the show was interrupted with a special announcement (a rare event in those days.) The announcer told us that President Kennedy had been shot.
Being a young British kid this news, while shocking, did not have the impact on me that it did on Americans. Enough though that 40 years later I can still remember in detail where I was.

I often wonder what would have happened if Kenneth Starr had lived during Kennedy's presidency.

Joined Jul 3, 2002
I was in 7th grade sewing class (called "clothing" in those days while the cooking class was called "foods") at Thomas Starr King Junior High and some girl came bursting in to tell us that the president had been shot. None of us believed her, but when we were excused to go outside, it was quiet, quiet in a way that junior high schools are never quiet. Kids were sitting down, not moving much, teachers stood in small groups. Many people cried, most just looked confused. I don't remember which of those I was. Until not much later, when everyone was crying.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I was in Mr. O'Hearn's sixth grade class at Eugene Field Elementary School in Rock Island, Illinois. We had just settled into social studies and resigned ourselves to a long afternoon when the principal came on the P.A. to tell us the awful news. We had no radios or TVs in the classrooms (we had one 12" black and white TV in the school, on which we had watched John Glenn's flight). The principal put the P.A. microphone to the radio and we heard the news reports live. Many of us put our heads down on our desks and cried.

My first thought was, will they fire nuclear missiles at us now? Did Nikita Khruschev do this? I almost threw up with the tension. We were a school that had regular duck-and-cover drills and in which all students knew the way to the basement door. Remember, it was just a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was having nightmares with many mushroom clouds in them. (I still have them now and then.)

They dismissed us at 1:30, as many mothers came to school to get their children. My mom was crying when she picked me up. I remember being very sad and very, very frightened.

When September 11 happened I told my students to remember what they were feeling that day when they heard the news. It was the same feeling Americans had when they heard about Pearl Harbor or Kennedy's assassination. I told them that, as sad and shocking as that day was, it would give them insights into how people felt during historical events they read about in textbooks.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Womb bound. Born the following April.

I remember where I was when Reagan was shot. 11th grade Physics class telling Reagan jokes.

Joined Feb 21, 2001
I was walking home from junior high and sort of heard the kids behind me say something. It was on the tv when I got home. On the Monday he was buried, two friends and I rode our bikes, at age 13 without telling anyone, the 30 something miles to Boston, I don't know why. We got so tired, going up Heartbreak Hill the opposite way, we couldn't make it all the way home and had to be rescued in Sherborn, which is so rich it looks now like it did then. I saved a lot of newspapers from that weekend and they are on display at the public library in the next town. I went to Dallas in 1971 for an Associated Collegiate Press convention and walked through Dealey Plaza. It was eerie. Very familiar looking landscape.
Joined Mar 2, 2002
I was not born until four years later, but I was born on Nov. 22. my mom always said that she thought of that when she was in the hospital having me (well, probably not right when she was having me :bounce: Apparently I acted a bit like that green jumpy guy). It was so significant to her that she thought of it, though, even when she was having a kid. I think of it every year because of that.

Joined Mar 2, 2002
Your post gave me chills. I grew up in a town that did a lot of nuclear stuff. By the time I was in elementary school, the big claim to fame of the town had past, but there was still a lot of secret stuff going on. Your post reminded of me of how they used to call they used to call duck-and-cover-drills "tornado drills" at that time. And how there were these weird trails that led down sharp ridges and quickly out of town that we were all supposed to know about - for what, we weren't sure (at least I wasn't. My dad didn't work at "the plant"). And how we all knew where the basement was. And how there were almost never tornados there, so why all the drills....
Joined Nov 10, 2001
I remember seeing the news footage of JFK`s assassination through the BBC.My parents thought that the BBC had got it wrong,once the truth sank in they were appalled.LBJ had one heck of a job taking over from John Kennedy.The whole thing was made worse by Robert Kennedy`s assassination.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
I was six in 1964. I didn't understand what happened, but I knew from my parents and older sibs that something must be very important going on. When it sunk in that the president had died was when we watched the funeral procession on television and I remember the cassion with the coffin and the riderless horse, and a little kid on the television, younger than me, saluting his departed father.
A few years later we moved to a small town in Montana with a large Irish immigrant community. Every house had a portrait on the wall of JFK. And if you were to say anything besides the fact that JFK was our greatest president usually ended up in a playground fight or a bar fight...
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I was 6 in 1964 and in Mrs. Westcamp's first grade class, Rancho Cordova , Cal. suburb of Sacramento. I remember coming home and seeing my mom ironing glued to the TV watching the news, she sat and cried....we had earthquake warnings and fire drills, I semi remember getting under the desk in case of a nucleur attack...like that would help.
There was respect for the presidency that has not been the same since.IMHO
Joined Nov 21, 2001
I was four years old and the news came on the tv. I ran and told my mother the president was dead and she threatened to kill me for lying about something so important. I remember making her come into the living room and watching her start to cry as she realized I wasn't lying. I only knew it was important at the time, but not why.
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Let's see, I was 4 about to turn 5. I remember playing outside and my mother calling me inside. We watched the rest of the afternoon, I didn't really understand what was going on, but I do recall watching the funeral procession the day or so after. I lived in the D.C. area at the time and we went down near the area to watch. It was a very, very cold day. Again the memories are distant, but I do recall the tv images especially watching the mourners proceed thrugh the Capitols rotunda walking past the flag draped coffin.
About 15 years ago I was engaged to Kennedys Assistant Press Secretary, Malcom Kilduff's daughter . He was the one who announced officially Kennedys death. He was also the one holding the microphone recording Johnson being sworn in on Air Force 1. You can see his hand in 99% of the pictures, but there was one that I saw that showed him as well.
Over dinner one night I asked him what his theory was and I found what he said very interesting. Mind you it was a while ago so I may be a little fuzzy on the finer points, and I am not saying this to start any sort of debate or promote any theories it was just one man, close to the presidency. His thought was that Oswald was actually aiming for John Connally ( and here's where it gets fuzzy) Connally was Secretary of the Navy and Oswald had received an "Undesirable" discharge from the Marine Corps. He apparently tried to enlist Connally to get it reversed. It didn't happen and so it was his opinion that Oswald was trying to actually get Connally. He obviousy had more facts than what I listed that would bring him to such a theory, but true or not, I found it and him fascinating.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Was Connelly Secretary of the Navy before he was Governor of Texas? That's why he was in the motorcade. That is interesting speculation, chrose.

Just for the record: It was 1963, 40 years ago.

I have given up on grand conspiracy theories. Someone knows the truth but isn't telling. Does it really matter? Perhaps it will someday when we see it all in grand historical context.

But for now, I'm much more concerned that Kennedy's great words on his inauguraton day are forgotten. "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

Contrast this with the "gimme" culture of now: "Gimme my tax money back! I don't want to pay for anyone else's schooling, or garbage pickup, or road repairs, or government of any kind!!! Gimme my money!!" :mad:

Watch out now; there's a rant coming next!

Do those of you who are in your fifth decades remember there was a time when we, as Americans, felt we should all pitch in and help each other? Do most people even realize that LBJ and the Congress were within three years of ending poverty in this country? They were, until the Vietnam war drained the treasury.

Now in America everyone's angry . Everyone seems to be resentful. In my state, local government is becoming the biggest unfunded mandate in history because the legislature wants to block shared revenue to cities and cut school apportionment drastically. I have seen elders shamefully disorderly- shouting and heckling in local govenment meetings, hurling personal insults at elected officials while TV cameras roll. They can't even wait to vote somebody out of office- instead, expensive and ridiculous recall elections are popping up everywhere, sometimes over a single vote cast on a bill. There was talk of recalling our governor just weeks after he was elected. Where were these angry people on election day??

We are rapidly losing our compass for democracy, and I fear things will get much, much worse before we regain our senses.

End of rant, but not the end of my fear for our future.

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