Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Kennedy Assassination — What I Remember 50 Years On

One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of the Kennedy assassination.

I was four at the time. I was home with my mom watching TV. It was a typical afternoon for us. We had eaten lunch and had settled down to watch the afternoon soaps.

In all likelihood we were watching the Secret Storm or maybe as the World Turns (I happened on to a video posted on YouTube of CBS' coverage and the first bulletin about the assassination came during As the World Turns).

My memory is a little sketchy about the series of event. But I do know that when it was announced that Kennedy was dead my mom started crying. She went up to the bathroom I’m assuming to regain her composure. I followed up after her. Not understanding what had happened but knowing she was very upset. I remember standing outside the bathroom door the knob probably coming up to my noise and being very very scared as to why my mom was crying. I certainly hadn’t understood what had been reported on TV.

The other very clear memory that I have is the plane with Kennedy’s body arriving at Andrew’s Airforce Base. They were in the process of taking the coffin off of the plane when my dad came home from work.

I don't remember much more than that. But these memories are very clear and distinct. I remember the fear I had because my mom was crying and I didn't understand why or what had made her cry.

Another thing I remember is a Thanksgiving 10 years later asking my relatives where they had been when the assassination took place and what they were doing. They told me and then talked about the Kennedy visit to northern Illinois

In 1960 when Kennedy was running for President he came to Libertyville the town next to where I grew up. He was there for a campaign rally:

Libertyville was predominantly Republican, but that day may have been an exception. In an open Chevrolet convertible, Kennedy arrived at Cook Park in the heart of downtown at 10:52 a.m., about a half-hour behind schedule. The park was described as a mass of color, filled with posters and signs, including a Kennedy banner draped across the grand entrance of the Ansel B. Cook Home, which served as the library.

I don't remember this but my mom took me and my brother to see Kennedy.

It is interesting to me how one event changed this country so much. Even 50 years later there is still a discussion of the impact this one event had on our country.

The events of the assassination are still  being discussed and debated. The conspiracy theories run the gamut from the Mafia to the CIA to the FBI to the Russians to the Cubans. You name it. I don't think any of them are right. I think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I think part of the reason people believe in the conspiracy theories is it is reassuring in some way. There was some evil cabal that killed Kennedy as opposed to one nut. One nut who altered the course of history for this country and for the world as well.

One thing all can agree on is true the country wasn't the same after Kennedy's death.

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