Skip to comments.WHERE WAS EVERYBODY THIS YEAR?
Posted on 11/23/2010 7:46:34 PM PST by johnwcassell
NOVEMBER 22, 1963 was a day many Americans still living will never forget....
The President and Vice President were in Dallas...
Most of the Cabinet were on a plane bound for Tokyo...
The country was preparing for Thanks giving which I was looking forward to spending with Helen Fairbanks, my teenage love, in Baltimore.
Whether you liked JFK or not, you found yourself listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, the Sound of Music and a song about "chickenfat" supporting Kennedy's fitness program.
You were YOUNG. Even going to Atlantic City High you could wake up JOYFUL.
It was just something in the air.
Some people, including noted author Jack Engelhard, said we lost our innocence beginning in the early afternoon when the first word from Dallas was flashed around the country.
I, of course disagree. Kennedy had a sordid private life and no experience governing. Rep. Howard Smith could halt the New Frontier by adjourning his powerful committee. Joseph Kennedy's mad ambition to turn his criminal millions into presidential power for some twenty years gave those of us who preferred the gentility and quiet, simple dignity of the Eisenhower years pause as well.
But those bullets that blasted into the head of the President on that fateful day did change the world for all of us.
The aura of youthfulness began to dry up. Helen and I had a great Thanksgiving....and we went to a Kennedy Era Hootenany... but things were about to change.
Nowhere can you find a more down and dirty, truly accurate description of the change than in Jack Engelhard's DAYS OF THE BITTER END.
The cities began to burn. There were tanks and National Guardsmen in the streets. Vietnam was escalated to a vicious slaughter... The Armed Forces were disintegrating with mutinies and fraggings. A whole division sat on the DMZ with the Army afraid to move them. Their officers refused to even try to take them out and the Pentagon felt it was too dangerous to bring them home.
As an Air Force officer I faced sit-ins... slow downs...
There was a pall upon the land as that gross creature in the White House twisted arms ramming through Great Society opium to hook the economy on government aid.
Yes, I missed Kennedy. His successor had the nation in flames...mobs in Washington chanted "burn...baby burn
...burn that White House down."
It was nearly a half century ago...
Yet those of us there will always remember... Why wasn't this Black Day in our history observed with a pause... a minute of silence?
A lot died with the President that day.
Whether you liked him or not.
John W. Cassell
PS-I don't even know where Helen is now.
I was in my 6th grade class here in CA.
I was 14 years away from being born.
I had just come out of Geology class at the University of Tennessee, walking up to the snack bar on the hill, where a TV was on.
I then headed back to the frat house to watch the drama.
I was managing an unknown group of unknown notalents called the Beatles.
I remember....I was in my Homeroom English class...my teacher, a black, disabled, woman (in 1964!) stood at the front of the class as it was announced over the intercom that the President had been assassinated. Maybe some of us no longer think about it because....1) Kennedy’s image was a created one, that has since been debunked and 2) we are tired of the Kennedy’s.....and for the first time in 64 years there is to be NO KENNEDY in Congress! Farewell to the Kennedy’s....thank heaven.
I noticed that it passed this year with nary a mention, at least not that I say.
I was in study hall in the old high school, my junior year.
No, really, I was still hiding in Argentina at that time.
No basketball game or pep rally happened. They finally let us go home early after dither about what to do. Many people crying. All of us just in shock for four days. And glued to the TV.
Went to church on Sunday and missed the on air assassination of Oswald.
I still remember exactly where I was when the news was broadcast over the company intercom.
Also if Romney is still an abortionist, Obama is the killer in chief of every unborn fetus not wanted by the mother.
Interesting ... I was between Chemistry class and English class, freshman year at ETSU.
20 plus years from being born and not even an afterthought to my Dad and Mom.
My dad was assigned to Altus AFB (AFOSI) and that night he came home with a .38. He had done that during the Cuban Middile Crisis too. Never before, never after.
In the garage waxing my Ranchero listening to the radio when they broke in with news of the assassination, I was stunned and saddened though I was a Republican.
i was watching tv in my room. didn’t care much for his politics but felt awful. given more time i think he would have been a great president.
I was in my 7th grade class
Hahahahaaaa .. that was YOU ??!?!?
“Interesting ... I was between Chemistry class and English class, freshman year at ETSU.”
Yes, and also my freshman year.
Now where are my glasses???
Nov 22, 1963 was a Friday, and our high school was scheduled to play our arch-rival that evening. There had been some bad blood and a few unsavory extra-curricular activities after the prior year’s game, and there were rumors that the game would be cancelled.
Early in the afternoon, we were told that the President had been shot, and we were to be dismissed at once. On the way out the door, one of my fellow students said that he didn’t believe the story about the President, that the game was being canceled, and that they were just telling us that so that we would go home in an orderly fashion. Someone else said, “Hey, genius—I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t tell us that Kennedy had been shot unless he had actually been shot!” (Duh!)
The news that he had died took a little while longer to arrive. I overheard it on somebody’s radio. Needless to say, the game, like almost all games that night, was not played.
I was stationed at a small NATO base in southern Italy on that day. I was working a teletype circuit between our base and the DC area. My mission supervisor, an Air Force E-8 approached me, knowing I was a Kennedy guy (but was too young to vote for him in 1960) and told me they’d just got the news over the Armed Forces Network.
From the perspective of years, I was dead and didn’t know it.
Wait—so Castro ordered the assassination because he was having a Cuban Midlife Crisis? Why didn’t he just buy a Corvette like everybody else?
Hell, I don't even know... much less care.
The Kennedys - all of them - proved to be major disappointments, if not outright embarrassments, and criminals. None of which I want to even think about today.
Same here.... I just barely recall when Reagan was shot. That's probably my first memory of him actually.
I was in 8th grade history class.
I was also in school, in the third grade. I don’t think it really meant that much to me at the time. Not until I got home and found out how upset my parents were. My dad cried and cried. I don’t know that I had ever seen him cry that early in my life.
It was during the birth of one of his kids. A midwife crisis.
I was popping Mary’s cherry.
I was busy inventing the personal computer when History interrupted my discovery!
I was in second grade when the principal announced over the intercom that the president had been shot and killed. Our teacher, Miss Cook, led us in prayer for him, his family, and our country, and at the end of the prayer she put her head down on her desk and cried, which really scared us to see a teacher crying. I had been looking forward to the long Thanksgiving weekend with no school and lots of cartoons on tv, but suddenly I was afraid that without a president the Russians were going to come take over our country and kill everybody.
Freshman also - at Temple in Philly...walking out of english class when a kid told us “The president was shot”. I had a quick mental image of JFK in a sling. At the time we didn’t know he was dead. Thought he was wounded. Just couldn’t conceive dead until I heard it on the radio. That day - Friday - was the only day in my whole time at Temple that people talked to each other on the bus going home.
I was in 1st grade. Still remember the principal comming in and whispering to the teacher. Then they both started to cry. That, and no cartoons on tv for the rest of the week....
I was in the 8th grade and my school had parent teacher conferences that day, so I was out of school and sitting at the counter of a doughnut shop with my friends when I heard the news over the radio.
That was the day that the 1950s died. Everything changed soon after that. Just three months later The Beatles arrived in America.
I was five and quite put out that the afternoon cartoons were off the air.
I told him about the shooting, he could have cared less. It was long 15 minutes before I could get off the phone and watch the events on TV.
Yes I remember his name and no I would not sell him the parts.
I was not yet conceived.
I wasn't around yet when JFK was killed so this, like all things Camelot and Kennedy, has always been something Baby Boomers spoke of with cult-like fervor and left younger generations to just shrug off.
I'll admit to having being curious about the conspiracy theories at times but that was the extent of it.
It's hard for them to realize their time has passed and the twilight of life has come. The world so many activists of the day envisioned never came to pass. It was made worse, not better, by their naiveté, inexperience, arrogance and an experimental meddling with the nation's values and culture.
I can only hope the damage wrought by that generation isn't permanent.
Happened on my eighteenth birthday.
I was 7 years old and we had split sessions in grade school so I was already home. My aunt who lived next door came over and remember her crying while watching the news coverage.
Numerous residents were very disturbed while a few of us, felt that life would go on..., knowing that assassinations of presidents had occurrred in the past, and the Nation had endured.
I almost posted a vanity on this theme yesterday, but chose not to. I’ll bet someone did, but I didn’t see the thread.
I was a ten year old fifth grader at George S. Patton elementary school at Ft. Ord, California. A woman from the school office came into our classroom and whispered something to our teacher. She got up from her desk, and they went into the hallway, closing the door behind them.
After a few moments (which seemed much longer), our teacher came back into the classroom, looking stricken, and as white as a sheet. She stood in front of the class and announced to us that the president had just been shot, and that we were to all go home immediately.
Time literally stopped. The whole class sat for a moment in stunned silence before any of us moved. It was during this brief moment that I saw everything I needed to know in my teacher’s eyes. There was no question that the president was dead.
I remember walking home, but to this day, I don’t remember the sight of hundreds of other kids on the sidewalks. In my memory, I was completely alone, hurrying toward my house. To the promise of some reassurance that the world had not just ended.
The rest of that day is a blur to me. I remember that it was the quietest our family of seven had ever been during waking hours. The whole family sat watching the coverage in front of the TV until we kids all passed out from sheer exhaustion.
For about the next twenty five years or so, I couldn’t bear to hear Kennedy’s voice on radio or watch video of him on television. The emotions that his voice and those images brought forth, were just too painful for me to bear.
I’m long passed that now, but the death of JFK was perhaps the most horrific and indelible incident of my young life.
That evening, my Boy Scout troop left for a campout in Tonner Canyon in the Chino Hills east of Brea in Orange County. All through the weekend, rumors were filtering into the canyon--that the murder weapon was a Mauser with a British scope, etc. only after we got home did we hear the true story of what had happened.
The writer mentioned a song called "Chicken Fat"--a recording waxed by Broadway star Robert Preston and issued on the Chicken Fat label (CF 1000, 1961) you can listen to it here. Our elementary school district went whole hog for JFK's physical fitness program, and one teacher in the district actually used the record in her PE classes.
The writer also mentioned listening to Peter, Paul & Mary. Also working its way up the chart at the time was "Dominique," a musical oddity by Soeur Sourire, aka The Singing Nun. This French-language song, about the crusader and evangelist Domingo Félix de Guzmán, who fought in the thirteenth-century Albigensian Crusade, actually made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and sat there for several weeks--an illustration as to how times have changed, as it would be considered highly politically incorrect today. You can hear it here
By the way, don't get me wrong--JFK is NOT one of my heroes.
You're going to find this really strange, because there was a British group called the Beatles that had already established they were quite talented with a #17 record on the UK charts called Love Me Do more than a year before Kennedy was assasinated.
What became of your group?