Skip to comments.WY Residents Look Back on JFK Assassination
Posted on 11/22/2003 1:22:51 PM PST by Theodore R.
Residents look back on JFK assassination It's been 40 years since America's 35th president was gunned down in Dallas.
By Michelle Dynes email@example.com Published in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
CHEYENNE - On Nov. 22, 1963, America watched as its 35th president was assassinated.
While John F. Kennedy's assassination has reached its 40th anniversary, it still has historical relevance for the people who lived it.
To some, the assassination is comparable to other catastrophic world events, like the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"It was the first blow to that bubble, the idea that our institutions and our presidents were untouchable," said Dale Reiber, a history and anthropology teacher at Central High School.
That first blow was followed by several others. He said the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, along with the dishonesty of President Richard Nixon, demonstrated that nothing was sacred. He said these incidents and the mystery surrounding Kennedy's death "cast a lot of doubt and created skepticism about who you trust."
Reiber said he was in the seventh grade at the time of the assassination. But he continues to talk to his classes about why this was such a significant event in America's history, using his own personal story.
He isn't the only one with vivid memories.
Edna Johnson said she was grocery shopping when she heard the news of Kennedy's death. She said prior to his assassination, she had the opportunity to meet Kennedy and shake his hand as he passed through Cheyenne.
"It was a big shock to me," she said.
Dave Pierce said he first heard the news while watching television. He described it as a "shock" and "unbelievable."
"The way it happened, it put me in a daze," he said. "I kept thinking, 'What are we going to do now?'"
He said afterward the nation was constantly talking about that day.
"Everybody seemed to be in a state that something terrible had happened to the country," he said.
He compared the incident to the Oklahoma City bombing and Sept. 11, saying the latter was "the worse tragedy of them all."
Ken Lyle also said he learned about the president's death at home in front of the television.
"I was shocked," he said. "He was my hero. He was a good man."
Kathie Lake said she was in the first grade at the time and heard the news from the school bus driver. She said she was "surprised," and even though she was young, she knew about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But it still seemed "foreign."
"It didn't seem like reality," she said.
She said while members of her family weren't Democrats and didn't support Kennedy, "it was still a national tragedy."
While 250,000 people turned out to watch Kennedy's fatal ride through Dallas, even more people were watching at home.
Kashawna White said the assassination was such a visual incident and the most disturbing thing seen on television at the time.
She said while she wasn't alive during Kennedy's presidency, her mother, a Kennedy supporter, talked a great deal about the events of that day 40 years ago. She said her mother often said that Kennedy's death was the end of the '60s as she knew it.
"The world stopped for several days," she said. "You didn't go to work. You didn't go shopping. It was sort of like 9-11 because it was all over the news, and people watched (it on television) grief-stricken."
Someone just could not resist a volley at Nixon on the 40th anniversary of the JFK assassination. Nixon was in Dallas THAT MORNING. He flew into NYC and learned of the assassination from his hack drive, I think I recall reading. He probably thought "That could have been me."