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.
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.
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