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Assassination of JFK: Where Were You?


It is hard to believe that it has been 45 years since the Barrack Obama of my generation lost his life to an assassination. It is even harder to believe that the date slipped right by me yesterday.

Anniversaries are important to me... as they are to most people. I was a preteen attending East Gurney country school house in Cheyenne County, a mile from the Colorado line, that day in November.

We had about fifteen students in our one room school house from a variety of classes and we were just beginning to take turns walking onto the stage at the front of the room to present a class paper. I don't remember the topic I was nervously waiting to talk about. I do know that my knees were shaking and I would have asked for just about anything to transpire to keep me from having to give that report.

What did happen is something that never would have crossed my mind. A parent's call jingled the one phone we had at the school and our teacher's face looked anxious and tense as she took the call. She began crying as she relayed the message about our President that day and soon parents began to arrive to take us to the safety of our homes

But we didn't feel safe at home anymore... at least I didn't. After all, if the President could be killed, and he was the most loved man in the United States, and had secret service men guarding him around the clock, how could I possibly be safe?

That day was the beginning of the end of an era for a lot of young and older people alike. A fear gripped our hearts of what lay ahead - and it proved to be true. Some say there is no going back once you have crossed that line of awareness of what can be, and more importantly, what can't be.

How did the assassination of JFK affect your life? Where were you? Do you remember?

One memory I hold dear is that of seeing people of all ethnic and religious backgrounds crying over his loss.


Nikki May 9 years, 7 months ago

I wasn't born. I was just thinking the other day of historical moments I've been alive for. That was one I missed. I also realized it's unfortunate that most are tragic.

camper 9 years, 7 months ago

RM. I was not yet born. But I recently went and saw the museum on Deally Plaza and took some snapshots. It is amazing how on that recent day how many tourists from all over the globe were there. Even more amazing is the fact that the area looks exactly like the film footage from 1963. I recommend the museum to anyone interested in viewing a piece of history that happened decades ago....but still so recent in many respects.

50YearResident 9 years, 7 months ago

I was at work watching it on live TV, It was extremely disturbing, It envolved a huge cover-up and I hope someday we know who was the mastermind behind it.

Linda Hanney 9 years, 7 months ago

I was a senior in high school and in class. After 9/11, I hope our Nation has experienced the last of "time standing still" occasions.

Janet Lowther 9 years, 7 months ago

I really don't remember hearing the news of the assassination: I remember watching the funeral, and I'm told the principal came on over the intercom to announce the assassination, but it didn't leave an impression. Watching the funeral did.I was in the third grade.

JackKats 9 years, 7 months ago

I would have been only a bit over one at that time. I do have a friend who was having his third birthday party. He recalls that parents came in crying wanting to take their kids home. He recalls thinking he had done something wrong. He would say that day changed his life and gave him many insecurities.

Bassetlover 9 years, 7 months ago

Some classmates and I were doing math problems on the chalk board during 4th grade at Catholic school. Another nun came into our classroom and told us what happened, then they had the entire school go over to the church where an emergency Mass was said. And then school was dismissed for the rest of the day. All I can remember about the next several days is my parents glued to our black-and-whtie television watching the coverage.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

multi, were you related to any "assassins"? I love how this search has made, "my depth of feeling for others has grown stronger." Wonderful for that reason alone!punkrock, that does often seem the case, but there have been some wonderful historic events that have changed our worlds forever also. We need to remember those and not just the negative ones.camper, what an interesting thing to do. I have never been to that scene. What brought about your interest and ability to go there? Did you go with family/parents? I will check it out....I did go to the Dakota (where John Lennon was killed).50year, I agree that most of us who remember this event first hand have been frustrated over the years as different stories and coverups seemed to have emerged. It is important for closure in any thing of this nature to know what happened - and be able to believe it.Linda, 911 seemed similar to me as well. We were in shock and it was difficult to know what to do. A lot of fear about the future, and how we could possibly go forward. That sense of the entire nation and most of the world mourning along with us. The world stands still for a time when something so unimagineable happens. I would say that is still one of the hardest things for me when hearing about a loss of someone I love - how in the world are we just supposed to keep going as if this never happened.jrlii, yes, the funeral was very poignant - especially Jackie, and Jon Jon and Caroline - his brothers, his mother. Heartbreaking.Jack, thanks for sharing. A good point when it comes to how things like this event influence a young child. Children at this age are egocentric and think everything that happens is a direct result of something they did. A great lesson is how careful we need to be as parents in not allowing the child to witness too much....we need to protect and shelter them as much as we can. It is hard since the parent(s) are grieving.reticent, Happy belated birth day.....

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

I was but a tyke. ( I still am, having frozen forever at that point in time. )I remember the funeral broadcast, John-John saluting a father, lost.That was the day the sky went out.

camper 9 years, 7 months ago

RM. Went there because my brother had a wedding in Dallas. The plaza was only a few blocks from the Adolphus hotel where we stayed. I generally try to break from the family to get away from em so I found myself at the Plaza. Growing up in Texas I'd often travelled past the sight (on I35) and look to my right for a brief moment. But this was the 1st time I actually was there. Not to sound too nostalgic, but history just sweeps over the place....I almost found myself asking a tree (almost all of them are still there) what really happened?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

multi, are you related to Tom and Barrack? :)Tom, come on, even you (fellow Republican that you are) must fess up to the connection people are making...... come on....come on.... say it, Tom......tange, you apparently still are a tyke...... go ahead and call me granny Ron.....Basset, great memory. Did the nuns make you feel safe somehow? I am not being funny, just curious....bndair, those memories really hit at gut level, didn't they. Thanks for sharing.....camper, imagine that...someone wanting to escape family during a wedding. I know what you mean about the feeling of history taking over a place. All those "imprints" that were left at the scene. The horror of it happening. Interesting description, camper. I wonder if trees store knowledge and anguish and pain from their surroundings....if a tree could talk it would have a lot to say in this case.

oldvet 9 years, 7 months ago

Junior in high school, sitting in our home room at lunch, talking with some classmates when a sophomore ran in and said that President Kennedy had been shot... we gave him a hard time about his joke... only to find out that it wasn't a joke... Although I might not have later agreed with all of his political views, I think the world would have been a better place if he had been around for two terms...Sad that a fellow Marine was the shooter... if he acted alone, he was a damn good shooter...

Calliope877 9 years, 7 months ago

Multidisciplinary (Anonymous) says… "Those 29 people who survived the Mayflower and procreated, now have 53,000 descendants."I'm one of those 53,000 descendants. I think my ancestor's surname was Faunce.Ronda,I wasn't in existance when JFK got assassinated, but I remember writing a research paper about him in High School.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

Too funny that somehow the Mayflower settlers have come into this blog - if they would only have know - marion and multi, see what you do? marion, I was at my grandparents house and watching tv when Ruby shot Oswald as well.callioped, thanks for the information - you will be privately emailed by multi to find out which side of the family you are related to - probably both sides if you go back far enough...honoredvet, now you know why I refuse to refer to you as old. ;) I think most people feel as you did about not wanting to belief what had happened and that President Kennedy was a good man in many respects.way to go, Tom, I know that wasn't easy for you....

brandx 9 years, 7 months ago

I clearly remember being in American History class at Cardinal Hayes HS in the Bronx, sophomore year. Father Brady was expounding on some topic when the P.A. came on and the announcement, the President has been shot. It was about 2 PM in NY. The mood quickly became somber. Father Brady said this was a moment in history we would never forget. He was right as usual. We then all knelt and said the Lord's Prayer. School was abruptly dismissed. As I went home on the subway and el, everyone was quiet and many were crying. The news that the president had died came during the hour it took me to get home. All the schools were dismissed and many people left work early because more were on the train than usual for that time of day. When I arrived home, many neighbors in our building were out front, in a state of shock. My mother had our small black & white TV on, listening to the news coverage. I believe the TV was on more that weekend than it had been all year.Of course, I have other specific memories of events of the following days, including Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, and the solemn State funeral on Monday, with the horse drawn caisson carrying the casket. The assassination stayed a shock for a long time after.JFK was an idol to many in those days, especially in our Irish Catholic neighborhood in the Bronx. I clearly remember also his Inauguration Day, January 20, 1961: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country". It was a sparkling clear, cold day in NYC as it was in Washington DC, when he said those words. It was like a new beginning.Despite his shortcomings that we have all been informed about in the intervening years, Pres. Kennedy's 1000 days in office and his eloquent words still remain an inspiration to many of us "baby boomers".

Alice Lieberman 9 years, 7 months ago

Ronda, I have been thinking about this all day. Like you, I was a preteen. It was a Friday, and my sister and I were among the few kids in our elementary school because the other kids had been taken out of school by their parents to go downtown to see the parade--we lived in Dallas but my parents, rock-ribbed Republicans, were not going to go. The students returned for the afternoon classes, but a lot of them were crying. They had seen what had happened. To this day I wonder what their parents were thinking, dropping them off at school after that like nothing had happened!The following Sunday, our class was supposed to go on a field trip to see the opera, "Madame Butterfly." My father was going to pick us up from Sunday School and drive us downtown. But when he came he told us that we were not going downtown--Lee Oswald had been shot, and it was pandemonium. Forty-five years later, it still feels weird to drive near the Book Depository, where it happened.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

marion, wow! That is an amazing story - all aspects of it. People react in so many differing ways to tragic events - all of them "normal" for the time. What an impact...I really appreciate that you shared your personal story and that of the female student and the teacher. That is certainly the type of memory that we carry to the grave.brandx, yours as well - it is as though that incident, and the ones that followed over the next few days, was permanently etched into our minds. Thinking about it as I did when I wrote the blog has really brought back additional memories and even as those of you who are commenting, exact words, people's facial expressions, individual reactions of those around us.alice, I am sure the parents of the children weren't even thinking what they were doing. They were probably operating on rote, or were needing some time to be alone. How horrible to have been there expecting to see one of the greatest things in your life and having it turn out so horrific. It is sickening what mankind does to itself.

Linda Kucza 9 years, 7 months ago

I was a sophomore in high school in Rapid City, SD. I remember we had just changed classes when the news began to trickle through the hallways. I can remember exactly where I was standing when I heard. I didn't believe it had happened. Most of us thought it was someone's macabre joke. I must have finally believed it and then there are no memories until seeing the funeral...the horse-drawn caisson and Jon-Jon's little boy salute to his father.Fast-forward to 9/11: I was in KCK teaching and had to hold myself together for the kiddoes in my class while inside I was busy being scared-to-death because my children and grandchildren were in Lawrence. When school was out, I attempted to rush home but there were traffic jams everywhere. I remember the fear, not only in myself, but others I saw, that something would happen to my precious loved ones before I could get to them. I think that must be the difference between a teenage heart and mind and the heart and mind of a parent.Probably didn't make much sense, but there you go...my memories of both tragedies.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

Lady, both recounts made a lot of sense, and in particular your last comment about the differences between the teen and the parent's perspective. During our initial attacks on Iraq my son was off the coast of the Florida Keys with his scouting troop - my children had both been instructed to come immediately home if we went to war with Iraq - obviously he couldn't so he was distraught, and as his mother I was just plain going crazy! I remember the 911 attacks well also - I had calls from several close friends who work out of town asking if their children could come to my house if need be....It is always of interest to me - the people who come into our minds to first call, or we want to be with, feel safe with. I think it is times like the ones mentioned that we truly learn who the people are we most love. Sometimes it is surprising.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 7 months ago

I was a fourth grader at Logan grade school and remember our teacher making the announcement about JFK's assassination. Some students were crying, I think mostly those who were Catholic kids. It isn't that the rest of us didn't care, but for Catholics JFK's presidency represented a reason to feel even more proud since he was the first Catholic president. I, too, recall watching the television reports and witnessing a nation that mourned as a whole. What a sad time it was.

RiverCityConservative 9 years, 7 months ago

My family was living in Staten Island, NYC, at the time, and my fifth birthday party was called off because of the assassination. My mother was a big fan of John Kennedy, so for the next few years we would listen to an LP about his life before we turned our attention to my birthday celebrations. I put JFK right up there with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Benazir Bhutto and others whose further development over a full lifespan likely would have brought a lot of positive influences into the world.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Multi: "Ronda and tange have ganged up to get me off the boards today, gee thanks."What are you talkin' about, woman?Our little gang-o-two is certainly no match for you.,;-)

Christine Anderson 9 years, 7 months ago

My mother was just under three months pregnant with me at the time. I don't remember hearing the name President Kennedy until I was maybe 5? I was mostly into Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo at that time.My first significant memory is of finding the newspaper my dad had saved from the day of the assasination. And of thumbing through a yellowed paper-back book on the subject, written by something called the "Warren Commission".Maybe my parents were wierd, but I remember they never wanted to discuss it anymore once the public began to question whether or not Oswald acted alone, was it a conspiracy, etc, etc.I do remember being a sophomore in high school when that nut job who was obsessed with Jody Foster shot Reagan.

dontcallmedan 9 years, 7 months ago

Richard Nixon was just leaving Dallas when he heard the news. Tragic--gotta go!

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

multi, I do am unsure what you mean? tange and I are just doing our usual thing...whatever that is.....but then why am I speaking for tange.....clueless what he is really up to....rivercity, I also put Lennon, Bobby and Martin Luther on the same list as John as to the great "what ifs" question. We know the world would be a different place and I can't help but think it would be a much better place. I also suspect we would have had a black President before this point.Logan, was the school named after you or you named after the school? Where was Logan????cheesehead, sounds as though you and reticent might be twins....rather like two other posters I know of....or is that three which makes us triplets? I remember the Reagan assa. attempt clearly also..Things such as that really put fear into the heart of a nation immediately, regardless of what political party it happens to.autie, any memory of the funeral? I wonder how many parents were together to keep their children away from too much of the coverage. I know everyone wanted to watch it, but I do think it was a bit much for younger children.

mmiller 9 years, 7 months ago

Ronda,Kennedy was assinated 17 years (born in 1981) before I was born! Incredible. It is fascinating to read about everyone's memories about his assassination. Since I wasn't even close to a twinkle in my parents' eye at that point, I'd like to share a few events that I will never forget, and how I plan to use these events as lessons for my kids, nieces/nephews and grandchildren:1) September 11, 2001: I was a Junior at Washburn working at WIBW-TV in Topeka. I was working the morning show and vividly remember being in the control room when CBS broke into programming. Bryant Gumbel made the announcement. It was unbelievable. I will use this event to teach my kids, grandkids and nieces/nephews about heroism and why we are so lucky to be living in the United States of America.2) Obama Presidency: I was sitting on my bed witnessing the first black man swallow up the country with historic wins in one of the most historic presidential elections of my time. Even though I didn't vote for Obama, I look forward to sharing this historic event with my kids, nephews/nieces and grandchildren.3) The Great Financial Crisis: This is one event I'd rather not have the opportunity to even share, but it is one that has/will have happened. I would like this historical crisis to be a lesson in economics and responsible spending/lending for my kids, nephews/nieces and grandchildren. These are events I will never forget. I'm sure more are to come!

shadeyone 9 years, 7 months ago

Well, we were in Spain... half a world away... no TV and sanitized Armed Forces Radio... Had my sister, Sharon, not called us, we probably wouldn't have even known about it until many hours afterward... Mind you, the overseas telephone lines were absolutely ancient... a lot of static and what seemed to be a 20 second reception delay... So, needless to say, we really couldn't understand, much less believe, what she was trying to say... It must have been a sad sight to see our family huddled together in a living room, 3000 miles from home, wondering what the future would bring... Here we are, in the middle of the cold war, stationed on a US Navy nuclear submarine base... It was terrifying... especially for a 12 year old...Seems like yesterday...

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

mmiller, thanks for your comments - yes, you will have plenty of historical events to share with your own children and plenty more in the making....hopefully at least some of them great as in the case of Obama.....one can only hope and pray.shadeyone, thanks for sharing since you were the one who triggered my writing this blog. Good idea by the way! :) It is hard to imagine being out of country when such a crisis occured. Do you remember how the people of Spain responded at all? Did you listen to the funeral via radio or did you have access? Incredible memory - and at twelve it would certainly shape your life. Thanks!!! As way of introduction to some of you....shadeyone is a friend whom I have yet to meet. He/she emailed me Saturday asking me to send him/her a link to my Kennedy blog - which I had not written because I had forgotten what day it was.....yeah, that does happen once in a great while.... welcome once again, shadeyone. :)

formerlawrenceres 9 years, 7 months ago

I was also not a twinkle in my parents eye yet, but I grew up listening to stories from my parents and grandparents on how they felt, what they were doing, etc. I agree with mmiller that 9-11 will be an event that will stand out in my mind forever.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 7 months ago

Ronda,I am from Logan, Ks which is considered to be the center of the universe by some. : ~ ) Logan is in Phillips County, about 70 miles northwest of Hays. I graduated from high school in 1972, hence Logan72. Its economy has largely been driven by farming, oil and pheasant hunting, which have all taken a hit in the past 30 years. Just in case you want to take a trip out that way, you can stop by The Garden of Eden in Lucas, the largest ball of twine in Cawker City and a replica of the Statue of Liberty between Downs and Gaylord, KS on the scenic drive there. On your way home, you could go through the town of Nicodemus, the last remaining all African-American settlement west of the Mississippi. It is about 15 miles south of Logan.http://www.discoverlogan.com/Document.aspx?id=7855http://www.nps.gov/nico/http://www.garden-of-eden-lucas-kansas.com/http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/499

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

Alia, thanks for the interesting information and links. I drive by the general area on my way to Bird City, but need to take the scenic route and visit these places you mention.By general area I mean within one or two hundred miles. ;)Thanks, Alia

onrywmn 9 years, 7 months ago

I was a 7th grader at Central Jr. High when JFK was assassinated. When we found out, the teachers took everybody to the auditorium to watch a tiny TV on the stage for more details of the shooting. Everyone was in shock with boys and girls crying all around me.Ironically in 2001 when 9-11 happened, I was at Central Jr. High again, only as a special ed. para working with a group of 7th graders. Sad and ironic, huh?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

onry, thanks for sharing - that is quite strange that you happened to be at the same place for two such horrific events. Life is full of things like that - one of the reasons it is so interesting......autie,You must have been very small for that trip.....did you happen to stay with my aunt and uncle the Amberrys? They have been known to take in a pheasant hunter or two....I haven't had pheasant for some time - do you still hunt?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

wind, very true - a new generation has the hope that we once had. And to be honest a lot of people who lost all hope have regained it now.....Pywacket, Great memories. I often think of my mother at the age of 25 also - she died at that age....I think how young that is to be a mother, how fast they had to grow up once they had childlren to protect of their own, how their attitudes about life and having children must have changed after that incident. Such an interesting historical time. Thanks for your well written comment. If we could go back in time to change history, a lot of the people who died that have been listed in this comment's section would have lived.

verity 9 years, 7 months ago

I well remember when JFK died. My community was very Republican, but I was still rather obsessed with Jacqueline Kennedy. I had an older cousin who modeled her look after Jackie---hair and pillbox hat.Then a few days later we came home from church to the shocking news that Oswald had been shot. One wonders what secrets he may have taken with him to his grave and how different things might have been had he lived to tell his story. Was he killed to cover something up? We will probably never know.But it was even more stunning to me when Bobby Kennedy was shot. I was in college and living not far from where it happened. MLK had been shot shortly before that and with Bobby it seemed that all our heros had been killed. That is the thing I carried with me. It's not that I supported Kennedy---I wasn't old enough to vote (had to be 21 at the time) and probably wasn't paying a lot of attention to politics, but these three men were somehow larger than life and there was no one to replace them.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 7 months ago

tange to the rescue as usual. What ever did I do before there was you? Don't answer that..... thank you!I thought about that song about as soon a I completed the blog - it keeps running through my head and it is one of my all time favorite downer songs, if there is such a thing.well put, verity. I agree that with or without a huge interest in politics the deaths of these three men wounded an entire nation. I think many young women idolized both Jack and Jackie Kennedy as well as the other heros you mention. There is still no one to replace them, but at least we have hope now.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

I was in the third grade. I recall that I got a haircut after school that day.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

Who knew that autie and snap were the same age. It is truly amazing what we learn in our on-line forums. Did you say no crackle or no cackle? :) I cackle when I get ouf of bed, my mouth cackles, my hen cackles, people who see me cackle....... And now you still have hair to worry about?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

none2, welcome to my blog - I haven't seen you before....You sure have an incredible memory. What an interesting odd thing; your parents taking a picture of you in front of the television during Kennedy's funeral. Is that something they still do - for the really big historical moments? I would not have ever thought of doing that one.multi, I obviously need to pay you to research my family tree for me....you are very adept at this by now. How entertaining. Are you putting a book together as you go?

supertrampofkansas 9 years, 6 months ago

Rhonda,Wasn't even a thought in 1963 so no memories. However I did use the Kennedy assassination as an opener for a paper I wrote about Aldous Huxley, one of my favorite writers. I always thought it was curious that JFK and Aldous Huxley died on the same day. I'm sure there were other famous people who died on the same day as JFK, but I never tried to figure it out. Unfortunately my English teacher was not too enamored with my opening if I remember the red ink correctly.

Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

super, you get an A in my book for creative connection. I never took the time, or ever knew, that the two of them died on the same day. Interesting. I remember watching Regan's funeral and thinking if Ray Charles had died at any other time it would certainly have held the spotlight. Let that be a lesson to you - die when no one famous does..... ;)

Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

Wow, a lot of fantastic people "chooses" to die on that same date. CS Lewis - odd I hadn't heard before that it was the same..... Thanks, multi. I was going to check out who else had died on the same day I did but then I remembered I am still alive. raofl.......

verity 9 years, 6 months ago

Even though the assassination of JFK affected the country profoundly and was the end of a certain innocence, it was also the beginning of the "myth of Camelot". Jacqueline Kennedy, later Onassis, remained an icon, perhaps more so after the assassination.I remember seeing a photograph of her after not having seen one for some time and being shocked that she had wrinkles. Jackie Kennedy was supposed to stay forever young. And when she died earlier than she should have, it seemed to me that it was the end of an era---perhaps the end of my youth?I think that JFK's early death probably has had a bigger effect on this country than he would ever have had if he had lived. Any thoughts on that?

Ronda Miller 9 years, 6 months ago

verity, interesting concept - someone's death impacts our country and/or us more than their life would have. I hadn't given thought to this before but do agree that can often be the case. I know for children who are missing a parent (death or divorce), they certainly may have their mind/life shaped more, or at least differently by far, than if the parent had lived....and been a quiet influence. Thanks for having added that. I think that Jackie's death was especially difficult, as was Jon Jon's death - John Jr., I know I watched him growing up very carefully in hopes that he would someday replace his father and serve our country. I feared for him always, but the hope was there...multi, you are too kind. That means I expect you to write a blog on my behalf and carry on once I retire and go through the doorway that has begun to open before me. I love you, my friend. You might want to snoop around in invictus's past though - seems a tad bit suspicious. :)

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