Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Day JFK Died

I remember the day JFK was shot.
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I was 7 years old.  I was sitting at my desk in my second grade class at Lincoln Elementary in Elgin, IL, when all of a sudden the loud speaker came on. Right in the middle of class, our principal gave us the news:

"We are sad to inform you that our President has been shot and has died.  Our school will be closed the rest of today in honor of our President's passing."

I remember that everyone looked at each other with wide eyes.  Our teacher told us to go on home and we silently put on our coats and left.  There was no talking or chattering - we were as quiet as if we were in church.

Our little school was a neighborhood school, so there were no buses and we all walked.  I ran the two blocks home as fast as I could and burst through the door into the living  room.  My dad and granny (who both worked the night shift) were home and sitting there with their eyes glued to the television as the latest reports were being broadcast. I started to say something and dad raised his finger to his lips and said "Ssh," so I sat quietly and watched the news with them.

The next couple of days was spent around the television.  I had never been so involved in a news story.  I'm sure there had been lots of other times that there were gripping news stories - like the Bay of Pigs invasion and elections and such - but this was the first story that caught a little girl's interest.

I learned all about the President, Jackie, Caroline and John-John. I heard about the President's father and mother, his sisters and brothers, and the Kennedy fortune.

I heard about JFK's most famous quote: 

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy

I was quite taken with all that I observed about him and for years I would consider myself a Democrat in his honor.  (As an adult, I became a Republican, but that is a story for another day.)

The most touching moment of all was when the news showed little John-John saluting his father's casket.  Awww!

Since that day, there have been many riveting news stories: 911, Princess Diana's death, Oklahoma City bombing, Sandy Hook and the Boston Marathon bombing stick out in my memory.  But the one I remember most is the news story that touched my life:  the assassination of my President.

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt 1.) How old were you? Share one of the first news stories you remember caring about.  If you'd like to read other responses, or join in, visit Kat's blog, Mama's Losin' It.


Jessica Sweeney said...

Great post. I was not alive when this happened, but my mom has told me her story about it (very similar to yours). It must have been scary.

kelley jensen said...

I remember that too. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

Carol said...

I believe that is the first big news story I remember, as well. I was at school when the announcement came. That was quite a shock.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't alive when that happened, but my mom would talk about it. She kept the front page of the news from that day stuck in our family bible.

Jazzmin said...

This was so interesting to read! In the past couple of years I have become really interested in the JFK assassination and Jacqueline Kennedy as well. The story is kind of fascinating, and of course very sad. But hearing about it from someone who remembers the day it happened is really neat. I can't imagine how it must have felt to hear the president had been assassinated on that day when you were a child.

Have a wonderful day!!

B Nickerson said...

The lost of JFK was also my first signifcant news memory. I was also 7 going on 8.

Unknown said...

Wow! I wasn't live when Kennedy was President, but my mother adored him and his family. She went to his inauguration, remembered where she was when he was shot and attended his funeral. Such a sad day in our history.

Dianna said...

Isn't that odd that you & I chose to write about the same event? And you were quite a bit younger than me. Thanks for visiting today!


Dyanne @ I Want Backsies said...

I was three when JFK died, but I vividly remember when Bobby Kennedy died. It was summer vacation and I watched it on a black and white tv.

May said...

I don't have any recollection of JFK's assassination, but do have a very fleeting memory of Bobby's and a more clear memory of MLK's. Troubled times.