It was a Friday. Fall was finally feeling like Fall in the South. Our weather is always a little screwy. It was almost Thanksgiving. I was excited that we would have a few days off. I was in the ninth grade in a newly started middle school. Actually we were not a real middle school. We were a bunch of ninth graders that didn’t fit into the statistics for enrollment that year. So half of the ninth graders went to a brand new high school. The rest of us unfortunate people went to the old high school that had room for us. That meant that by the time we arrived in another year, friendships would already be formed without us. There was no band or chorus. We were just out of luck. Some teachers were required to stay at the old school and were glad. Others-not so happy. That year I had two excellent teachers-my English lit teacher and my world geography teacher. But that is not a real part of this post. Just supplemental information!
My geography class was 5th period. I have no inkling what we were studying. Looking back I should have remembered. But then again it wasn’t that important to the day.
The Date was November 22, 1963.
What were you doing that day?
For many of you, this date means nothing. For me, it was the day that the principal announced over the intercom: John F Kennedy has been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. We were silent. I could feel my heart beating -fast. Who would do this? Should I be afraid?
I had reached the age where I had begun to notice political things and The Kennedy’s were certainly worthy of watching. One of the big things I heard adults talking about at church was if Kennedy was elected would the Pope be able to have him do special things for the Catholic Church. Hmm. I had never considered that the Roman Catholic Church might end up running the country. Does that mean that Billy Graham could call up a senator and get special treatment? Hmm. People talked about Kennedy and his heroism in the Pacific. Everyone knew about PT 109. I still have that video! People talked about how rich the family was. So wealth was an issue, too.
But he was elected President and fell into the media spotlight. Women wore pillbox hats because Jackie did. Women wore big sunglasses because—-Jackie did. And everyone grieved for the children they lost.
We all watched the funeral procession and wept for the life destroyed before it’s time.
And we all watched John-John as he saluted his father’s casket .