It was true, we learned, that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was dead. He had been gunned down in Dallas, Texas. 22 November 1963, I was in the 5th grade.
We found out from the school janitor, who had a small radio in his basement office. The Public Address System in this 175-year-old building had gone to rack & ruin a generation ago. Tax payers were not up to keeping utility functions on a productive level in Indiana. It was a waste of money, unless related to basketball. The janitor went to each class room & recited the same, sad information, President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, and was now dead.
I remember going home, walking very slowly, unable to fully understand the horror that was unfolding. It would become clear, in the style of American televised journalism, as the same scenes of the shooting & the word ‘motorcade’ were imbedded in our collective memories over the next three days & reinforced at various intervals during the next several years.
My mother did not understand why I wanted to keep our copies of The Indianapolis Star. She was not a collector, I was. 50 years later, taking the papers I had so carefully saved from that time, the pain of his assassination still lingers, a psychic wound, still fresh in my mind, long after most of the major figures publicly involved that day have, by now, passed away.
The Indianpolis Star- 50 Years With News That Still Pains
WALTER CRONKITE ANNOUNCES KENNEDY’S DEATH
THE TERRIBLE SCENE AS TELEVISED 50 YEARS AGO
In the years that have passed, we have been exposed to more theories & lies regarding President Kennedy’s murder than are fathomable. Clearly, there were multiple shots from different locations. Unless all the films were ‘doctored’-anyone can tell this. Even the sense of loss cannot be a common ground, as there were many who stood to gain directly or indirectly from his death. In the end, all that any of us who lived through this experience with any degree of sympathy can do is share our collective loss, understanding that the political climate changed, allowing Richard Nixon to gamble upon the failure of a Johnson Presidency, that would propel him into that Office which he missed in 1960. Putting it in that perspective, makes it sadder & more tragic. We suffered a great loss that day in Dallas, that still will take many years to resolve.