Wednesday, November 20, 2013
President Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago on November 22, 1963. It is inconceivable to me that I’m old enough to vividly remember something that happened so long ago. I was nine years old, and a fourth grader at Cathedral School in Salt Lake City. That day, we were in the lunch room when the announcement was made over the intercom that President Kennedy had been killed. Being Catholic in Utah was kind of difficult. We weren’t exactly accepted with open arms by our Mormon neighbors. When JFK was elected as the first Catholic president, we had our hero. He was young and handsome, and had a beautiful wife and two adorable children. In art class, whenever we were told to draw whatever we wanted, all the boys would draw pictures of PT 109. This was the boat JFK was on in World War II. It was torpedoed by the Japanese, and he rescued all of his men. I wasn’t the least bit interested in PT 109, and figured it was just a stupid boy thing. But I did think the President was pretty dreamy. After he was killed, we were glued to the TV for any tidbit of information. We were huddled around the TV in my grandmother’s sun room when Lee Harvey Oswald was killed. We actually saw it happen live. Amazing! I remember watching the funeral procession move down Pennsylvania Avenue, along with the riderless horse as the symbol of what we had lost. I marveled at the grace and bravery of Mrs. Kennedy, and wondered how she knew what to do. When we saw John-John Kennedy salute his father’s casket, it broke our hearts. I believe it was his third birthday. American’s lives changed forever that day. Soon enough, in 1968, there would be two more assassinations - Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Some of the innocence we enjoyed died along with them. Nowadays, horrific killings happen almost daily. Things seem to be spiraling out of control. I wonder how different our current world would be had those three men survived. Kind of makes you think... and dream.