Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Kennedy assassination..November 22, 1963 . A date I will always remember. What was it like that day for me. My memories of that sad day

It is amazing that is was 46 years ago. Today the death and assassination of JFK is as old as he was when he was shot.

I was a boy in the 1960's..But from the time I could first read, listen, and study...I had a profound interest in history.
My earliest memories are of the Cuban missile Crisis...I recall the fear and terror of that event. There was so much we did not know. I started reading newspapers at that time. Although I did not know many of the words I was trying to learn and understand. It was an important moment in our history. Brought to everyones homes through the medium of TV.
John F. Kennedy was very much the star of this TV drama...His star rose quite a bit as it was well orchestrated. It was a much simpler time, we listened to everything that was said and we believed it. Today with the Internet I doubt the story would have been at all the same.

We survived that crisis and at this point, I really started to enjoy watching John F. Kennedy on TV. He had a wonderful sense of theater, and was smart. He had a happy talent for the spoken word, that is where he excelled. I thrilled at some of his press conferences.
As a young boy he became my first hero, I remember I used to make believe to be him and sign bills and make laws.I still recall so well doing that.
In 1963 I was in school and found my hero was no more.
Gunned down in Dallas. This I found out in class, as one teacher ran into the classroom and my own teacher started to cry. It was kind of funny for us, we were kids. But soon I was made aware of the gravity of it all.

I was picked up by my mother, who was crying,(my mom can cry reading a telephone directory, sadly so can I). But she was shattered that day.
We went to the dry cleaners, they were crying...and then we went home. I never left the TV each day and watched the whole solemn ceremony of death, and mourning. I cried that night.

I also had a very strange and bizarre dream that night which was so very odd. I dreamed that I was walking around and went to George Washington's grave, and put a band aid on him and he came back to life, and I went to Abraham Lincoln's grave and put a band aid on him, and he came back to life, and then I went to President Kennedy and put a band aid on him and he came back to life.
So I and the 3 Presidents were marching together. I have always remembered that Dream from that sad time in 1963. It is amazing how real it was to that 6 year old boy. But I understand that dream and still I feel the vivid nature of it.

Over the weekend the pageant went on, sometimes my mother joined me watching it, she was very upset by it all. She had voted for Kennedy cause she said he was real good looking.
I always enjoyed my mothers political value system. She would carefully weigh the issues and then vote for the best looking candidate!

She was very upset by the assassination, she ate an entire bag of tootsie rolls as she watched the funeral..My mother would eat if she was upset, she still does.

It was a great moment for me, one that I always will remember. The world changed a bit that day. I know it did for me.
I went out and bought all the newspapers I could find at that time. I was being a careful historian already. But what was it like, that day 46 years ago...It was day of outrage, sadness, helplessness, and confusion. I remember oh so well that day, I was saddened by Kennedy's death. I was saddened that I was not going to have my TV shows with my hero, and lastly I found Lyndon Johnson so boring.

You have to remember I am looking at this through the eyes of a 6 year old, but a 6 year old who was trying to capture every bit of this moment in history, as he knew this WAS history. That 6 year old watched the entire event on TV...Saw the live murder of Oswald and the grand pageant of a presidential funeral....The nation as I recalled was in deep shock, everything was a mess, all the stores closed! Of course there was no school on Monday morning of the funeral.

Today I find that much of what we all thought Kennedy was, was not, but I still admire him. I know as a historian he was pulling the wool over our eyes, but still I admire him.

In my thoughts of Kennedy there will forever be that 6 year old boy who thought JFK was one of the coolest people around, and my intellectual powers will never convince that 6 year old otherwise.

The world changed on that date, November 22, 1963, I cannot see that date without being transported to that moment. As I said before it was a simpler time, and I pray that this never happens again, but in a world that is a violent one the odds are that it will. But I do not think the world will be as loving, understanding, and shaken as it was in 1963. We have become a harder people and that is sad, but sadly true. But as I wrote about the assassination in 1988 in a book I had purchased about him. That I will be forever haunted by the terrible days of November in 1963. I am sure everyone who remembers is as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment