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.
I was teaching on 9/11. We watched news all day.