Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday (the cruelest day), November 22, and that date is burned into the brains of many of us in the Sixties, for it was the day, in 1963, when John F. Kennedy was killed. Everyone I know who was at least ten years old at the time remembers where they were when they heard the news. I was at Stratford Junior High School in Arlington, Virginia, and the news of the shooting and death were announced over the school’s public address system.

It’s hard to describe the sense of shock that overcame America at that time. People stopped their cars while others gathered around to hear the car radio, people hugged each other and cried, and the whole country was unmoored. Walter Cronkite looked at the clock and teared up as he announced Kennedy’s death. The sight of his wife Jackie in her bloodstained dress as she got off Air Force One, a dress she wouldn’t change because she “wanted people to know what they did to Jack,” haunts me still.

If you were alive then, and remember where you were when you heard the news, please post that below in the comments.


Here’s Cronkite on the CBS news, announcing the shooting and death:

On this day in 1928, Ravel’s Boléro, a song that I like to hear occasionally (after all, it’s repetitive) was first performed in Paris. I much prefer the “Sunrise” section of Ravel’s Daphis et Chloé, which I find one of the most evocative and wonderful bits of “modern” classical music. Have a listen; it’s a peaceful and relaxing way to start your day. This lovely version is by Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony.

Also on this day, in 1968, the Beatles “White Album” was released and, in 2005, Angela Merkel was elected as Germany’s Chancellor.

Notables born on this day include Abigail Adams (1744), Charles de Gaulle (1890), Terry Gilliam (1940), and Billie Jean King (1943). Those who died on this day include Walter Reed (1902), Lornenz Hart (1943), both Aldous Huxley and C. S. Lewis (1963, the same day as Kennedy), Mae West (1980), and Lynn Margulis (2011). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to help with the fall gardening:

Hili: Autumn is a time for trimming.
A: But don’t overdo it.
 In Polish:
Hili: Jesień to czas na przycinanie.
Ja: Ale nie przesadzaj.


  1. Dominic
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Jack London died 100 years ago today…

    I am too young to remember but my parents certainly cried. They had lived through a war & I suppose Kennedy represented hope. But hope is a curse.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I was in my local cinema in London. Between the B and the A film the manager came on stage and announced Kennedy’s murder. The A film was no entertainment after that.

    • RossR
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      We were also in a cinema in London. The film was interrupted to make the announcement – the only time I remember that happening. I don’t remember if we even saw the end of the film – it certainly failed to make an impression after the news.

  3. Historian
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I was in the student lounge of my college, which had a television. Somebody ran into the room and turned on the TV. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. For the next week everybody was in a daze. JFK spoke to my generation of young, urban liberals. He was suave, smart, and had a beautiful wife. Most importantly, he was an optimist during the depths of the Cold War. He told my generation that we could have a promising future.

    He was quite a contrast to Grandpa Ike and to his successor, Lyndon Johnson. Many have argued that Kennedy would not have gotten the U.S. embroiled in the quagmire of Vietnam, but that’s all speculation. There was a contingent of “advisors” in Vietnam at the time of his death. Still, if he had not, U.S. history would have taken a very different and better course.

  4. Johnman
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    I was in Grade 5 (10 years old) and can remember it – I was sitting in our dining room when my uncle came in and said we must switch on the radio as Kennedy has just been shot. This was late afternoon in South Africa – no TV yet at that time. This is a very clear recollection, but I have sometimes wondered whether this is not a false memory, as it has become something everyone is supposed to know!

    • Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      I have the same problem…I remember watching the funeral but I am not sure if it is a real memory or one I constructed.

    • Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      In fact, remembering where you were for this event in particular is a *textbook example* of where people make false memories!

      (I know I have none, because I cannot very well have memories from ~13 years before my birth!)

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Supai Elementary School, Eighth Grade in Scottsdale, Arizona. Seems like long ago in another world. School was cancelled and everyone went home and spent all weekend watching it all on Television….black and white. Dallas, Texas was not a very popular place for a long time after. I have lived there and spent time downtown at the site where it all happened.

    • Christopher
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t born yet so I can’t contribute a memory, but my son and I did visit Dallas last summer, and of course I made the trip to Dealey Plaza. Even amidst all the traffic and the tourists, to stand where it all happened still felt quite emotional as well as surreal. I also felt a bit irritated at the other tourists taking selfies. It just came across as insensitive, crude.

      There’s also a small Holocaust museum near by that is well worth a trip, and which is also every rough going, emotionally.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        I did not know about the museum. My time living in the area there goes back to 1976 to 1980 and then again in 1990-95. I guess with assassinated presidents there is always a tendency to be martyrs. Certainly true of both Lincoln and Kennedy. Odd thing here in the small town I live in – the schools were, Lincoln, McKinley, and Garfield so the only one missing is Kennedy.

  6. Moishe
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I was in my first year at Western Ontario and was walking to class after lunch. We met other students coming down the hill in shock with the news. We immediately headed back to the dorm to watch the story unfolding on TV.

    I remember feeling immense sadness at the state of the world, a feeling I have experienced only once again, on 9/11.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      And maybe a couple of more times in 1968.

  7. Paul S.
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I was 1, my mom was feeding me lunch. It is also her birthday,

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I was getting ready to be born. I came early – three weeks later, which, of course, had nothing to do with the assassination.

      I’ve always wondered why we don’t refer to this (and other assassinations) as “murder” more often. To me, “assassination” sanitizes it a little. Perhaps we need to sanitize it to cope?

  8. Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I was with my mother, she was making the Christmas Pudding, when the news came on to our small black and white TV. I’m afraid I said “I’m going to kill the man that did that”, but Jack Ruby got there first. – MC

  9. Debra
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Don’t count the young ‘uns out! I was 8 and on a field trip to the Los Angeles museum…a peanut vendor with a radio told us about it. We remember.

  10. Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    In English Dept office at Penn State Univ.

    Modernist American poet Hart Crane composed to Bolero while drinking red wine. Here’s a ballet version w Maya Plietskaya you may enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsSALaDJuN4

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      That was great, thx. Nothing like Bolero for building momentum.

  11. rickflick
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I remember only vaguely what happened on that day, but I do seem to remember that there was a TV wheeled into our high school physics class where we watched early events unfold. I think the school let out early. Walter Cronkite’s coverage, the report from the hospital where Kennedy had been taken, then more coverage at home – the return of the casket to Washington with the swearing in of Johnson. Every day following the assassination seemed unreal.

  12. Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t yet born in 1963, and I can’t help but wonder how the country would react to a presidential assassination today – I’m pretty sure that if anything like this happens today, whether to Obama or Trump, there’d be people out on the street celebrating.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Yeah the only time I remember is when they shot Reagan. I remember how bad I felt for the men who died and for the guy who took the bullet. I was just a kid then but looking back it’s actually kind of a ray of hope that no one else was shot since then. Not that I remember, anyway.

  13. Dimitris Klaras
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    For many years thought I was remembering this day and where I was (in elementary school, I have a vivid picture of the day and a feeling of despair!) but looking at the day some time later I was only 4yo then. So certainty I remember Robert Kennedy’s assassination. Dictatorship in its first year in Greece. The despair feeling certainly from our teachers, something like loosing the big daddy to protect us. At least this was my then interpretation.

  14. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I know almost nothing about women’s couture, but I know that that was no dress; it was a pink Channel suit, with matching pillbox hat.

    That’s the kind of impact that event had. I was 10, a fifth-grader at a parochial school JFK’s convertible had driven by three years earlier while he was a senator campaigning for the presidency. The nuns had let us out of school that day to line the street to see the man who would become the nation’s first (and thus far only) Catholic president.

    I have very vivid and precise memories of the day of JFK’s assassination (though I’m not naive enough to think they’re all necessarily 100% accurate). If I had to pick one day during my lifetime that had the greatest impact on this nation’s mental landscape, that day would be it. America hasn’t been the same since.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Dealey Plaza, the Texas School Book Depository, Parkland Hospital, Love Field — these are etched as clearly in my boyhood memory as the stations of the cross.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      “Chanel” suit — goes to show, I still know nothing of fashion.

    • Dominic
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Do you suppose that people said the same thing when William McKinley was murdered? I think so… each generation will have its Kennedy moment…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I think that’s right; that’s why I limited it to “my lifetime.” And sometimes, those feelings even work out to be accurate, as in the case of the assassinations of Kennedy and Lincoln.

        I think what really set the nation topsy-turvy was the murder two days later of Lee Harvey Oswald. That weekend made people question their government and, indeed, the American Dream. I know it made it hard to look at Fifth-grade civics the same way again.

  15. Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I was 3 when it happened. I do not recall hearing the news of the shooting, but I do remember being angry that my cartoons weren’t on TV and every channel had the same thing: Kennedy lying in state in the capitol rotunda.

  16. W.Benson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I was on an ecology field trip on the way to the Florida panhandle and the Gulf of Mexico on the day Kennedy was shot. Driving through small south Georgia towns we noticed the flags at schools and post-offices at half-mast. What I remember most clearly, and was most shocking to me at the time, was a guy working on the dock who opined that Kennedy probably deserved it.

  17. Rob
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I was just 6-years old, in the first grade. Principal made announcement over PA that president had been shot. A few minutes later he announced president dead.

    It seemed as if you could feel the shock spreading through the school. (I don’t know how to explain that.)

    It was the first time I ever even heard of a president.

    Seared into my memory.

  18. Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    We were in the Sears store in LaFayette, Indiana.

    There was a commotion in the TV department, so I went there to see what it was about. I’ll never forget the sight of 40 or so televisions with the word “Bulletin” on their screens, as a crowd gathered and watched in stunned disbelief, the world changing before their eyes.

    It’s hard to explain how innocent we were back then, and how much larger the world seemed. This was the beginning of the end of our innocence, and the sixties would go on to deliver us several more blows.

  19. Mike Cracraft
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I was a freshman at UT Austin living in a campus dorm when the news came in. My dorm mates cursed me and wouldn’t talk to me for a few days afterwards since I was from Dallas !

  20. davidintoronto
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Natalie Portman’s movies have been more miss than hit lately. But “Jackie” is generating some strong buzz.

  21. Robert Seidel
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    > On this day in 1928, Ravel’s Boléro, a song that I like to hear occasionally (after all, it’s repetitive) was first performed in Paris.

    It was meant to be: It was a commission that came with a requirement as to performance time (for a ballet, I think) and Ravel was miffed to have to shoehorn his creativity into a fixed amount of time. So he basically said “Screw this, they’ll get one very short piece that will repeat itself over and over so and so often.”

  22. Bob Covey
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    >> Everyone I know who was at least ten years old at the time remembers where they were when they heard the news.

    I was precisely 10 years old when the principal of our school, Horace Mann Elementary in Bakersfield, CA, came in and made the announcement that the president had been killed. The girl sitting next to me in class burst into tears. The principal then asked all of the 5th and 6th graders — she specifically said “you students old enough to understand” — to line up to attend the lowering of the flag to half mast. The school was on a fairly busy street, but as the flag was lowered many motorists just stopped their car, got out, showing their respect as the flag was lowered.

  23. mfdempsey1946
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    On November 22, 1963, when I was 17, I and my fellow students for the Catholic priesthood were suddenly told to assemble in our seminary’s chapel.

    There we were told about the murder of President Kennedy. It was like a 12 on the Richter scale shock to the entire nation.

    I also recall the exceptionally large black letters of a newspaper headline that day: PRESIDENT SHOT DEAD.

  24. mfdempsey1946
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Another memory just popped up:

    Connie Francis singing a stirring anthem that was meant to and did comfort the nation after the assassination.

    Its lyrics said that President Kennedy’s body may be dead (I can’t recall the exact words of this part)”…but his soul goes marching on!”

  25. Blue
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    For this, the week’s cruelest: Tongue Out – Tuesday, https://twitter.com/i/likes = a couple of Ms Hili – and Fitness – doppelgängers !

    Apparently #tongueouttuesday is a Thing on the Twitter = https://twitter.com/search?q=%23tongueouttuesday&src=typd


  26. Teresa Carson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I had just turned 13, and I was in the eighth grade at a Catholic school in Dallas. My younger brother was home sick and I was home, too, because I was supposed to take care of him while my mother went with some other women in the parish to serve at the luncheon the president was scheduled to attend. My mother must have decided that my brother was too sick to leave, so we were all at home watching television and my dad was at work. We had just turned off the television when my mother heard an announcement on the radio and turned the TV on again. We watched it for days. On Sunday we stopped by the grocery store on the way home from church — the only time we had gone out all weekend — and that’s when we heard that Oswald had been shot. Years later, the summer after my sophomore year in high school, I had a summer job at the police station in downtown Dallas, where there is now a historical marker. The assassination was heartbreaking — we were all in love with the president.

  27. Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I was a senior at New Paris High School in Indiana. We were in ‘study’ hall and the first buzz about the President being shot was thought to be a bad joke. Then it became clear that it was not joke, and soon a TV was rolled into the auditorium. I don’t think that any classes were held after that and the hall filled up with students and teachers.

  28. tomh
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I was seventeen and hitchhiking through the South, (though I was from from NY), trying to make sense of the world. I well remember a local in Jackson, MS, saying, “they got the wrong one.” Bobby Kennedy was as much or more hated than Jack.

  29. rebscar
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I was in study hall at Lake Worth High School in Florida–a recent transplant from Maryland. I was 15. My recollection is that we were allowed to leave school a little early and as students walked towards their lockers there was a hush because, I think, we were all shocked. I remember thinking that political assassinations were something that only occurred in South America. Not here, not to us. I felt ashamed that it could happen here. Kennedy was the first politician that I was really aware of and I was very proud that he was president.

  30. Sue Sommers
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I was a sophomore in English class. My teacher was married to one of the secretaries. She knocked on the door and told him the president had been shot. I remember watching TV constantly and my Dad took me to work one of the days we were off school, I suppose to distract me from the sorrow.

  31. Claudia Baker
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I had just turned 14 and was in grade 9 in Oakville, Ontario. The announcement came over the intercom. We were all shocked. And we were all sent home in the middle of a school day. When I got home, my mother was watching TV, which was weird in itself, because the TV was never turned on during the daytime in our house.

    It was surreal. Just like 9/11. And just like this election.

  32. Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I was taking a bath at Nuumber 2 Flying Training School RAF Syerston near Newark Nottinghamshire UK.
    I didn’t know much about US politics or the Presidency (or come to that much about much else)apart from the Cuban crisis but I remember lying and listening to the radio, my first transistor radio, until the water went cold without me really noticing it.
    Never forgotten.

  33. Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I was in junior high math class. The intercom came on, first with static, but soon they got the connections right and the whole school listened to the radio account. We were shocked. I cried and a couple of the guys made some comment about some of the girls crying, so I was embarrassed. In the hall as classes changed, students were quiet, or talking trying to understand. Strange.

    My sibs and I spent the weekend playing in front of the TV. No normal programming was on, just news, quiet commentary, and classical music. Classical music on TV repeatedly! That made clear how important and sad this event was.

  34. Larry Smith
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I was in the first or second grade at Nestle Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley (Southern California). We were out on the asphalt playground for lunch, I think. When lunch or recess was over, a bell would sound, at which everyone was supposed to stop in their tracks. Then, a few seconds later, an all-clear bell would sound, and we would all start filing back to class in an orderly fashion.

    Well, on that day, at the first bell, I must have kept playing, because a yard monitor saw me and said something like “you there” and said she would then notify my teacher as to my transgression. I was a good kid, and I was mortified.

    We filed back in, and our teacher was somber. She told us what had happened, and told us to put our heads on our desks. I think I remember her crying quietly in our dark room.

    Of course, I was never punished for violating the playground rules that day, as that had been completely forgotten. In the selfish logic of an eight-year old, I figured that if Kennedy had to have been shot, that was the right day for it to have happened. How awful this is, that I was more concerned about punishment for an inconsequential violation than the life of another person. Of course, it’s not like a warped trolley problem or anything, but my thought process at that time is still a bit puzzling to me after all these years.

  35. sue
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I was in fourth grade. I remember the principal calling my teacher out of the classroom for a couple of minutes. She came back in crying, sat down in front of the class, and gently told us the president was dead. We were stunned, but pipsqueaks that we were, we speculated while playing at lunchtime that Nixon had done it.

    These “where were you?” memories are so burned into the brains of everyone who lived through that time that a bar in the town where I went to college would ask students who forgot their IDs what grade they were in when President Kennedy was assassinated. They judged by the rapidity of the response whether the person was indeed old enough to drink.

  36. Jenny Hoffman
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Mrs. Benson’s 4th grade class at Brinkerhoff Elementary School. Announcement over the loudspeaker and then they sent us home. Remember a sense of disbelief and feeling stunned. A friend and I walked the short distance home, sat on a hill side and talked for hours!

  37. Charles Minus
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I was playing my bass in my apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago, when the phone rang. It was my sister telling me the terrible news. I was devastated. I had voted for Kennedy – my first time voting. He was a new hope for a politics that actually spoke to the youth of America and I think he was the beginning of political awareness for many of us. I had paid little or no attention to national politics up until then. I never read the news papers because it all seemed so awful. Now, since the election, I am back to not reading the newspapers because it is all so awful.

  38. busterggi
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I was nine and in 3rd grade at Benjamin Franklin elementary School. We had no idea what had happened, apparently messengers had been sent around to the teachers to tell them but not to tell us. No intercom then. We were just told that scholl was over for the day and to go home (because it was just assumed then that everyone had a parent to go home to). I found my grandmother broken down in tears but I guess I was shocked when I did learn what had happened because I don’t remember what happened after that. The next couple of weeks were a non-stop mourning period at my home.

  39. Jeff Morgan
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I was nine when Kennedy was killed. At home in Leeds with my parents and younger brother.

    I think that the assassination, together with the earlier Cuban missile crisis, was my first realisation that there was a world outside Yorkshire.

    We were watching the evening news programme when Cliff Michelmore came on to say “we regret to announce that President Kennedy is dead”.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      My exact memory as well – guess we can’t both be suffering from false memory syndrome. I was watching with my dad when the announcement came on. My dad went into the kitchen to tell my mum and I can still recall her gasp of disbelief.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Wait a second … there’s a world inside Yorkshire?

      • Jeff Morgan
        Posted November 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        watch thissen, lad….

        And here’s a Yorkshire joke.

        A farmer is bringing his cows in for milking when he sees a young school lad peering over the wall.
        “Ee up” the boy says. “who watters t’milk?”

        The farmer is furious and chases him away. The same thing happens the next two days, after which the boys headteacher is told and admonishes him.

        The next day, as the farmer is bringing the cows in the boy is still there. The farmer warns him what will happen to him if he is cheeky again.

        The boy looks at him, grins and says…

        “Tha Knaws!”

  40. Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I think I still remember. It was a rainy day when it was announced, but I don’t know anymore what I did at the time. This day changed history for it was the first time an East German and a woman became chancellor.

  41. HaggisForBrains
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I was 16, and helping my friend Archie refit the JAP V twin engine onto his 1934 Morgan Three-Wheeler in a Glasgow suburban garage, and trying to get it to start. We had Radio Luxembourg playing pop music on the tranny when the announcement came through, and I recall that our favourite pop music station switched to sombre classical music for the rest of the evening (it must have been around 8pm GMT). We were profoundly shocked, as even in Scotland Kennedy was revered. I also remember an acquaintance, who had joined us uninvited, making a big show of offering a prayer for Kennedy by kneeling on the garage floor, much to our disgust.

  42. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I was only 8 and remember JFKs death well. I was living in Dallas, Texas at the time.

    3 years later I was living in England where guns are rare and it was national news when a London policeman got shot, pre-empting normal TV for a few days. I noted that it seem to get the same level of TV news coverage (though not in print news) that Kennedy’s death had gotten in America. It impressed me with how rare guns were over there.

    Backtracking to the year of JFK’s death.
    The following January (’64) I transferred from a private school system to the local public schools (we moved to a better suburb of Dallas) and lost an election for 4th grade homeroom president to John Hinckley, Jr. who 19 years later would try to kill Reagan.


    JAC, if you would like to look at a cat (in the bottom left corner) while listening to Ravel’s Dawn, use this URL

    I’m not sure if the human figure in the painting is a monk or a craftsman.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      “living in England where guns are rare”

      One way to look at the many issues with violence in the US is to note that in England the strong central government abolished the casual ownership of weapons before democracy had fully flowered. In the US, on the other hand, democracy was already in place just after we had fought the revolutionary war. Guns were ubiquitous and became part of life and the government lacked the authority to take them away. Such a civilizing move is now impossible. Timing is everything.

  43. Dianne Marie Leonard
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I was in the 6th grade when President Kennedy was shot, and in the 10th when his brother Robert Kennedy was shot. I remember my mom had a poster on the wall that showed the two assassinated brothers. “Brothers United” was the caption. My parents were Catholics and voted for JFK and for RFK in the California primary (he was shot right after winning that and was thought to be a good prospect for President.) JFK believed in the entire separation of church and state. FFRF still uses the recording of him saying so as an advertisement for the organization.

  44. Leigh
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I was taking a make-up exam for a HS History class. I was sent to one of the teacher workrooms to write my exam; a radio was playing in the background. An announcer interrupted the music to say the President had been shot. The news slowly filtered through the school. I remember that no one did any work for the rest of the day. We sat in our classrooms – mine was English. My teacher did not say anything. She just cried.

    When I think of all the people we have lost – JFK, his brother, his son, Martin Luther King Jr. John Lennon and others – I can’t help but wonder if we have lost the equivalent number of right-wingers to violence. Of course now we just engage in character assignation – so much more civilized.

  45. amyt
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I was in 2nd grade and we all jammed into one classroom to watch a black and white TV. That bus ride home was completely silent. We went to DC to wait in line for hours to walk past the casket. The only other time we waited in line in DC was to see the Mona Lisa.

  46. JoanL
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I was in high school physics class. As on 9/11, an early reaction was to ask “are we at war?” perhaps because in 1963, living less than 25 mi. from New York city, the cold war literally induced nightmares. While 9/11 left the sense of how my world had changed irrevocably, 1963 (ah, youth) had more a sense of this is the nasty world we live in, now let’s fight for the good.

  47. Neil Faulkner
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    If today is the day Kennedy was assassinated, it is also the day Dr Who was first broadcast. I’d have thought someone would have mentioned that by now.

    • RossR
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      My recollection is that Doctor Who was about ten years earlier.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Saturday 23rd November 1963, 5.15 p.m. (Wikipedia)


        • Neil Faulkner
          Posted November 23, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

          That’s right, it was the day after. But the events in Dallas were still – obviously – dominating the news. So much so that the first episode of Who was repeated a week later.

  48. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I find Bolero quite addictive and fascinating. There’s something slightly other-worldly about the sound of it, I don’t know if it’s the chords the instruments are playing or what it is.

    (And no, I don’t have clue what I was doing when Kennedy was shot. Why do you ask? I didn’t do it, I wasn’t there, nobody saw me and you can’t prove a thing. 😦


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      That’s what Lee Harvey Oswald said, too.

  49. Ruthann L. Richards
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I was in my freshman year at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and was on my way home from classes. I stopped at a card shop to buy a birthday card for my aunt, and the clerk was listening to a radio report. Since it had just happened, nothing was clear at that point. I was skeptical, but not long after I got home, Walter Cronkite, the voice of reliability and authority, announced the news on tv. That’s when reality set in.

  50. Posted November 23, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Dealers at Stock Exchanges do not exaactly whisper their quotations and counter-offers. I was working in the Buenos Aires SE for a bank, passing on buying and selling orders from our clients. The communication with our office was a direct line using an, of course outdated but nonetheless efficient, telephone with a handle :-).
    The completely unexpected silence that filled the building in a matter of seconds after the news was known, must have been unique. It lasted at least one long minute before the hundreds of persons on the floor realized what had happened.

  51. hrichmon
    Posted November 24, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I was at work in an office in Newport Beach, California. I heard voices in the next office, through the wall, speaking in what seemed to be hushed tones. My immediate thought was only, ‘the President!’. Minutes later I heard the truth.

  52. Mike
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I was in Boot Camp in the British Army, sat in the NAAFI having a Coffee, “Surfer Joe” was on the Jukebox when the announcement came over the Tannoy.

  53. Posted December 11, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I was in the second grade. I walked home for lunch, as I usually did, and my mom told me. I went back to school and they dismissed us shortly after.

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