Stories From A Life

Been there. Done that. Writing about it.

Sally Swift

Sally Swift
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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June 14
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VP, Repartee
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Swift Retorts
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sally: a journey, a venture, an expression of feeling, an outburst, a quip, a wisecrack ... me

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NOVEMBER 22, 2008 6:02PM

Thanksgiving, November 28, 1963

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Walter Cronkite-JFK - video powered by Metacafe

"I am absolutely sure he never knew what hit him," Dr. Tom Shires, chief surgeon, Parkland Hospital, Dallas, November 22, 1963

If you remember the assassination of John F. Kennedy, you'll agree we didn't know what hit us either. It was an act equally as shocking and incomprehensible then as the attacks on the World Trade Center were almost four decades later.

The assassination of our president literally rocked our world. It was the seminal experience of the Baby Boomer generation -- even those still too young to fully understand at the time would come to feel its aftermath.

The sudden--and too easy--shooting of JFK and then, incredibly, the wanton shooting of his captured assassin while surrounded by police, and on live TV, changed our lives profoundly, just as 9/11 changed our children's. Our complacency, our sense of safety, fair play and trust in American invincibility were shattered in an instant, never to be truly regained.

You remember where you were, what you saw, how you felt on 9/11 and its immediate aftermath. Believe me, you always will. Those of us old enough to remember the events surrounding JFK's assassination can pull up images and feelings as if it were yesterday. Even though it was 45 years ago today.

Friday, November 22, 1963. I remember how excited my sister and I were that morning. We didn't want to go to school. Our cousin Polly, one of the "big girls" (i.e. in the tier of cousins 10-15 years older) was getting married that weekend. We'd have to sit in the synagogue's balcony and be very quiet, but still, it was such an honor to be included.

Even better, the wedding was in the town where we'd been born and we were going to stay the whole week after the wedding and have a traditional Thanksgiving with our father's family. Which was going to be so much better than the two we'd endured since our father's death in August, 1961.

We'd see all the relatives, be fussed over, stuffed with food, play with cousins and friends we hadn't seen in a long time. Three days off from school that Thanksgiving week, so of course our mother said we couldn't stay home Friday, November 22, 1963. 

There we each sat in our classrooms, fidgety, thoughts anywhere but on our schoolwork, imagining the pretty party dresses we'd wear, how the bride would look in her white gown, the bridesmaids in their matching blue ones, who would take us ice skating, how many sleep overs and in whose houses, what movies we'd see, let's go, let's go, won't this school day ever be over?

Then footsteps running in the hallway. Doors banging. One of the older girls bursting into our classroom. Crying so hard she could barely speak. Before the teacher could move, shouting, "They killed him! They killed him! He's dead! He's dead." Just like that, each horrid sentence repeated twice, scaring us, maybe even scarring us. I'll never forget it. I can see her face, hear her voice to this day.

I didn't even know yet who she was talking about, but I've never forgotten my first thought, Oh, please don't let them stop the wedding! I've never really gotten over the guilt of such childish selfishness. Yes, I know it's irrational, especially in today's world. But on Friday, November 22, 1963, my world, which had been so innocent, wasn't like today. That would change. Fast.

Things I remember. First, pandemonium. Children and teachers crying, hugging, confused, then, as the word spread that the president was dead, some refusing to believe, my best friend laughing, saying, Oh, it's a practical joke. Arguments, more tears.

Teachers so uncharacteristicly helpless, trying to maintain order, decide what to do. Moving everyone into the main hall. Then, a radio is on, total silence falls as a man's voice says unthinkable words. "President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is dead. He was shot today in Dallas."

Shot? The president was shot? How? No. The president doesn't get shot. He's the president. Where is he? Who did it? What's going on??? School closes, parents are called.

I remember looking out the car windows on the drive home into other cars, seeing faces streaked with tears. Heads shaking No, No. People standing on the sidewalk, hands to their faces, shoulders heaving with sobs. Strangers holding onto strangers for comfort, for reality.

At a stoplight, one black woman in a gray coat sitting on the curb, head down in her hands, slumped over, rocking, crying. Another standing, her hand patting the woman's shoulder, tears streaming down her face too. I can still see that face to this day.

My mother crying. "I remember when FDR died. That was bad. This is much worse." We were so stunned, so afraid, we almost couldn't cry. "Will there be a war?" my younger sister asking. "Will we all be killed?" Our mother reassuring us as best she could, then turning to the phone. Telling us to make sure we were packed.

The TV stayed on. All assassination all the time. No cable back then. No VCRs. But you couldn't turn away. Wouldn't. The country glued together through television, in mourning. In disbelief. In fear.

Then our car radio on for the two and a half hour drive. Not the joyous welcome that should have been, but still, loving arms, hugs, tears and smiles. In every house the TV stayed on. There would be no ice skating. Instead, everyone in front of the TV watching a lying in state. A country in despair, a new president trying to tamp down the fear, encourage calm without showing disrespect.

The wedding was held on schedule. For a few precious hours two families embraced joy and happiness and promise for a newly married couple, trying to forget the newly minted widow in the White House. Now I realize it must have been even harder for my mother, not so long a widow herself.

Then back to the TV, the state funeral on Monday, scenes no one could ever forget, even if you've only seen the pictures. Jackie and little Caroline kissing the flag-draped coffin. The caisson pulling the coffin behind the rider-less black horse, stirrups turned backwards to signify death.

The widow and his brothers, walking, she draped in a black veil that fell to her waist. At the grave site, a flat stone circle, bending to toddler John-John, whispering. Then in his little coat and cap he bravely steps forward and salutes. An image of a lifetime. Tears come just remembering.

The eternal flame is lit. The country must go back to business. No one can. Still the TV is on. Reports about the widow, the children, endless loops of the shooting, both shootings, the widow standing in her blood-soaked suit next to the new president as he's sworn in. The assassin himself shot on live TV. More loops of the funeral, the child's kiss, the little boys' salute.

We and the other cousins don't want to watch any more. We want to play, to feel our world isn't ending. We want to know Normal will be back soon. My sister and I, maybe even our older married sister, having too many flashbacks of our own father's funeral in this very town, where we no longer live. And suddenly don't want to be.

My mother feels the same. Again she's on the phone. Suddenly in a flurry of movement, we're packing, saying goodbyes, climbing in the car. Hitting the road for home. Realizing Philly is home now. No radio. A mother, two girls, quiet, trying to absorb five phantasmagoric days of, well, maybe a tiny bit of heaven, but mostly just plain hell.

Thanksgiving day we are pulled into the warm, welcoming circle of my mother's family, cousins who have cared for us the past two years gladly adding our three plates back to the tables again, making us realize we hadn't endured, we'd been protected, sheltered, loved.

Discussions, talk of what had happened, what would likely come next, sure. Always lively talk at the adult table. And at the kids table, laughing, teasing, telling 'dirty' jokes, stealing a glass of wine and sharing sips, trying to act grown up, though it tasted like piss. Bursting into gales of giggles as one of the younger cousins can't help it, spits the bitter wine in an arc onto the table.

No TV on. Just the music of family voices. And so even after that harrowing, frightening, world-changing, life-altering week, Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1963 is the one that meant the most.


Please, share your memories of JFK's assassination. Where you were, what you thought or said, whatever.

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It's the 45th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Let's take a moment to honor him, to look back.

And then move forward into a new generation.
Thanks for calling attention to this day.
Thanks Sally. I posted some thoughts earlier today so won't repeat them here. The video with Cronkite wiping away a tear brought tears to my eyes...again. Great post of a tragic memory for all.
Thank you for this incredible post Sally.
It is burned into my consciousness forever. My mom cried for 3 days.
The funeral was perhaps one of the most moving events in my memory.
I get so pissed off every time I see that footage. That was the day the music died, as far as I'm concerned. But it's OK because the last cheap, greedy cipher representative of the interests who killed Kennedy is on his way out of Washington soon, and their entire worldview has been finally, uncategorically discredited.
Thank you for reminding us of this day. I had worked all through it without remembering.
In my school, the teachers cried and broke down but did not tell us what was going on. School continued, and I found out after I got home. Walter was a comfort.
You are so right. It changed everything. Then Bobby being killed was the end of hope.
Not until now have we regained that hope which is why we need to remember today.
thank you, Sally, rated.
Let's just say I was in school and the nun came in to tell us. It was stunning and frightening. I will never forget November 22, never (but it's also my sister Joan's birthday). So glad you reminded us all of it. Great post.
Like Mary, the nun was called away for a moment, then came back in to tell us. She then sat down in her chair and wept. I was in fifth grade.

Thanks Sallly, an important story. I have a shot of the sixth floor Texas School Book Depository building with a tree in the foreground framing the infamous window here.

What is amazing, in touring the Sixth Floor Museum, is reading all the vile hatred directed at JFK from the locals in Dallas. Letters to the editor, publications...not sure all the hatred had much to do with his killing in Dallas, but it still came as a shock. There was a culture in the South that reveled in that hatred.
Good work. "It's the 45th Anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Let's take a moment to honor him, to look back. " I had done this at Gary's post earlier but I'll repeat it here as well: "never again - please, never again."
Sally - thank you for sharing this. I have no stories, as it was (just) a couple of years before me, but I have visited the site in Dallas, and the eternal flame at Arlington and am moved each time.

I actually was thinking the other day about writing about john-john (JFK, jr) - but haven't fully formulated it yet. But, you're right the images from those days are indelible.
Thanks for this memorial. I'm afraid I have no memory of the day, although I was alive. But I was just a nine month-old infant at the time. My memories didn't start until I was two or three.

My only memory of that day is vicarious; my mother said she was out of the house on an errand that day and heard the news about JFK when she was picking up our fixed kitchen radio. She said her most visceral feeling was one of "I must get back to my children!" I don't think she feared a war or attacks on this country by any other, but she did have the "nothing will ever be the same again" feeling.

I remember Martin Luther King's and Bobby Kennedy's assassinations more clearly. Mostly through seeing my mother cry, when she almost nevercried. I was not what you'd call a politically aware child. I think I saw some of the roll call of the states on our old black and white TV during the 1968 DNC. I remember wondering what "boats" had to do with anything?

I just hope and pray the Secret Service will be able to protect Obama from sharing the fate of JFK, MLK and Bobby.
Sally,
This is a wonderful memorial, and I am so glad you have written it.

Your story is perfectly told. We each remember those days in the lens of our family life. We gathered together for those days in the way that we would gather for weddings and funerals and holidays. Personal events unfolded amid the national tragedy---and they will always be marked, remembered, cast in the greater context.

I’m not sure of your age. I am 55, and I remember so much about Kennedy---his run for office; the Cuban missile crisis; Jackie losing her baby, Patrick; John Jr. and Caroline; the dogs; the pony---so, so much. On the day of the assassination,” Look” Magazine (or maybe” Life,” they were interchangeable) was on the news stands with a pictorial of the family in the White House. It is from that magazine that the famous photos of John, Jr. playing under the desk come from---and, as I said, it was available for purchase that week. My father had bought me a copy earlier in the week. (I would drive my parents mad, always insisting that we by any magazine featuring the First Family. I was obsessed.)

I remember everything about November 22, from the moment our teacher announced that he had been shot. It was his death was confirmed. I remember that my father arrived in what seemed like minutes to pick me up. I remember the short drive home, the radio on, the madness unfolding, my father crying, the worry about did this mean war? And, at home, I remember the announcement, the confirmation: the president was dead.

It seems as though no in my family slept at all for the next 4 days. The TV was always on---in those days, stations would go off the air for several hours, and I assume they must have done so during those 4 days— but my memory is of constant broadcasting.

A few years ago, I was in Dallas, and I was out with some of the guys I worked with, we were heading back to our hotel from a hockey game, of all things, our route taking us past the book depository. There is a single small light marking the window from which the shots were fired. The car fell absolutely silent as we drove past.

No matter what one may think of his presidency, his father, his politics or his personal behavior, his assassination is a wound from which this country has never fully recovered---until now.

With luck---we have the opportunity to recover now. That hope is what drives so many of Obama supporters.
Helpless teachers. That stuck. Also some weird little kid crush on Caroline. . .

EVERYTHING changed.

(BTW---so much for the "not being able to write" you just needed a rason. And you found a pretty important one. . .)
I was in kindergarten, 3 months shy of my 6th birthday. My classmates and I were blank slates, we absorbed the news easily, not understanding the enormity of the event. I think it normalized violence for us, in a way. That was reinforced by the Vietnam War, a daily presence in our households every night during Cronkite's news broadcasts. It was reinforced even more when RFK and MLK were murdered when we were only 10.

JFK's assassination, and the equally ugly events that followed, created far too many cynics and nihilists among my age group.
That day was the first day of my life as a grown-up -- it wasn't just the loss of a President, or a loss of all those hopes and dreams -- it was the first real assault on my innocence, an assault that would continue with Vietnam ... Martin ... Bobby ... Kent State.

These things couldn't happen here -- but they did. I thought the final such blow came on the street in front of the Dakota. As I put it back then:

Where were you when the shots rang out
In November ‘63?
I was shakin' dirt in a foundry job
With a lot of guys like me
It got so still you could hear the wind
As we all drew in our breath
We stood there numb and searched our minds
For a reason for his death
It was Camelot and quite a lot
We didn't know yet then
That fell that day and for me, I'd say
The beginning of the end

Where were you when the shots rang out
In Dakota's darkened door?
The good die young, but when they do
What is it they die for?
I cried an empty keening cry
And struggled for my breath
I guess every man's a helpless child
Standing face to face with death
Strawberry fields, nothing is real
I felt so lost again
The music died, I sat and cried
And waited for the end

But sad as those events were, they were far from the end of the assault on my innocence. I would have to suffer through 9-11 and Katrina and Gitmo and Abu Gharib and eight of the longest, most depressing years of my life, as I wondered what had become of my country and that magical American Dream.

Now every day I pray that a leader I've placed what's left of my hopes in, doesn't meet the same fate as the last leader I placed my hopes in. Please, Dear God, please don't let all my dreams die.
Tom,

I don't know if the consensus was that it is or is not proper etiquette to comment on comments in other people's blog---so, Sally, I hope you don't mind---but I just had to let you know how moving your comments here are---thank you for sharing your poem/song.
Thank you, Sally. These histories are important.
November, 22, 1963: a day that I will always remember. I was in the forth grade and at about 2:30 PM EST, there was an announcement from the principle that all teachers were to come to his office immediately. A few minutes later, my teacher returned crying. After a long moment she told us what had happened... the president had been shot & killed while in Dallas, TX. And she told us that we would be leaving school early.... which was only about 45 minutes early.

I remember walking down the hall to the door and seeing teachers, students and arriving parents huddled, crying and talking in soft tones. No one was overly excited, but there was a sense of disbelief and extreme sorrow in the air. Outside, I met up with my sister and a few friends - hers & mine - and we got on the bus for the slow, quite ride home.

We were met at home by our maid with open arms to comfort us, until our mother & father arrived and as a family; we seat in the den watching the news unfold. Everything that day seemed to be in slow motion, with every detail permanently etched into my mind and from that day forward, America changed forever.

Thanks for allowing me to post this entry.
This brought tears to my eyes and gave me chills.
I was in 3rd grade. I remember that suddenly they were feeding the radio reports over the school PA system. I remember hearing, live, one announcer interrupt another, with the words "Flash: the president is dead!" Shortly after that, they dismissed us.

I was probably too young to understand the event's importance. I remember becoming bored during the days of mourning when there was nothing on the television except watching people file past the casket, lying in state in the capital. And, finally, the funeral, that interminable funeral.

I remember seeing Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald, live on TV. I remember the Warren Report. My dad, a conservative and someone who didn't think much of Kennedy, never stopped believing there was a conspiracy and a cover-up.
I've read this a couple of times. I was too young to really understand what happened, I simply recall my older brothers returning from school with tons of questions; my parents, watching the news silently. The funeral and Oswald's shooting at the hands of Ruby are probably less fuzzy in my memory than the news of Kennedy's death. I was so young, then.

A fitting memorial, Sally. Thanks very much for writing it.
Sad moment in history. Have we learned our lesson? Let's hope and for those of us who do, let's pray.

rated
All your stories of hearing the news in school. It's telling that as horrendous as 9/11 was, teachers in 2001 were far better prepared to help their students through horror than our innocent ones were in 1963.

M.a.h., I don't know of any rules about commenting on comments and this is my blog, so I say why not. We're all communicating with each other, right? In this case, you got there before me... Tom, OMG what you wrote is just simply masterful.

Everybody, please read Tom Cordle's comment above.
What a compelling post and thread. Thank you, Sally.

Here's what I want to know: You say your teachers and the other adults--like your dad's family and, separately, your mom's family days later--all demonstrated grief and upset over the loss. Did all these adults vote for Kennedy? I know this question seems heartless or naive or something, but as someone who came of age in the very partisan Reagan years (I was born in 62), I have always wondered at the seemingly bipartisan outpouring of grief for Kennedy. Is it true? Did everybody just let go and feel bad or was there some distinction in reaction from those who supported Kennedy and those who did not? This is a serious question that I hope someone will answer.
Two more questions:
1. I just saw Geraldo Riveres show a clip of him in 1975 introducing the Zapruder film and saying (yesterday) that it was the first time the footage was ever shown. So in this clip above, it seems to show that Zapruder footage. Was it spliced in there since the original broadcast?
2. What was Jackie O reaching back for across the car? I can't tell by the film, even though I've watched it several times.
Lainey, to answer your questions as best as I can from what I've been told and what I've read:
A lot of people voted for Nixon, in fact it was a squeaker of an election and many pundits agree JFK's father/campaign team bought/rigged voting in Chicago to put him over the top. Still, even though many people didn't like him as president, his assassination was so bizarre and frightening and unexpected at the time that most felt grief (or maybe just fear) out of genuine respect for the office and America. And frankly, for Jackie and the little kids.
From your other comment:
1. No, Geraldo was Not the first person to show the Zapruder film, I don't remember exactly when, but it came out fairly quickly. I'm going to research that. He's such scum.
2. You're not going to like this answer, it's extremely creepy, but I've heard and read many times that those who watched the film as journalists and experts who studied it frame by frame during the Warren Commission investigation say Jackie was reaching for the piece of her husband's head torn away by the shot(s?).
Thanks for this post. Very moving. I was only 5, so I don't remember much of this, but the images are iconic. For me, it was having this as history and then remembering MLK and RFK that were formative in my childhood. I've written a piece about it here:

http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=39373

Paws up.
I was 14, a sophomore in a public high school, and not particularly political. I remember students crying, but not teachers. It was the first time I had heard the complete Chopin Funeral March, as opposed to the cliche 11-note phrase that was often quoted in cartoon soundtracks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY1g9BCBtVs

I have been to the Sixth-Floor museum, and was amazed at how small Dealy Plaza is. You can walk from one end to the other in less than a minute.
I was 10, 5th grade and it was an unseasonably warm day in the NYC area. I recall many details of the day, but what is most striking to me about my memories is this: Years later, I developed an interest in classical music. As I explored this interest, I happened upon one piece that would often bring on severe melancholia. Funny how music can have such power, but this piece seemed to have a particularly strong effect. The piece is Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings." Much later, I learned that this piece was played over and over on the radio throughout that horrific weekend.
A needed reminder.

I was in school in Florida when it happened that early afternoon and the teacher was going to go ahead with a math test and a lot of us just walked out of the room. One of the first protests of my life.

We were glued to the TV the whole weekend like the rest of the country. It was the first social network.

The whole world loved Kennedy (as they do Obama). And the world mourned together. It was indeed the end of innocence.
Thanks for answering my questions, Sally. Yeah, I wondered about that No. 3, which is why I asked. I had never, ever heard that before, but when you look at the video, esp. that one that Geraldo showed from 1975, it looks just like that, like she's reaching for his loose head or something horrendous like that. It's weird that I have never heard anything graphic about his death before. I'm wondering if the press was just a different animal then.
I was about two and a half that day. I carry with me a memory that is more of a feeling or impression. I was sitting on the floor of my mother's small town beauty shop playing with hair curlers or something of the sort. Suddenly the talking stopped. My mother and the women seemed frozen. There was a fear and a wave of shock that I couldn't comprehend of course, but I have never forgotten. I asked her when I was much older where she was when Kennedy died, and where I was. Yes, my memory was of that most tragic day. I was raised up with this as a part of my consciousness and sharing it with the collective of my culture. Sadly, we later had Challenger's explosion and 9/11 shape our world. (I have no childhood memory of Bobby Kennedy or MLK--my family was far from political when I was growing up. I felt an outrage that I learned of these events in school not at home.) I think this horribleness is a scar like that impressionistic memory. We will never shake it, and nor should we.
I regret that I discovered this post so late, but thank you Sally for sharing a moment of history through your eyes. I'm struck by how many details we all have in common... The discovery of our teachers, our authority figures and role models, suddenly revealed to be just as human, fragile and lost as we felt. The vigil around the TV. Someone must have watched NBC or ABC but I've never talked to a soul who recalls anyone but Cronkite. I have no doubt that my memories are real because my mom was an "As the world turns" devotee, so the set was on CBS when the news broke, and it didn't change for days. For all it's tragedy, the memory of this day - this surreal series of days - truly binds those of us who lived through it.
As for other moments that united a nation - if not the world, I can only recall the Moon Landing and 9/11. The fall of the Berlin wall and the shuttle tragedies were major moments, but not realtime events that stopped society cold.
It's funny how something 45 years gone can well up such strong emotions. Maybe it's because we were so young that the scars run so deep. Thank you for sharing your story. And thanks for doing so in such a powerful way that those not born at the time can begin to understand just how it felt.
It was for many of us, the end of innocence and the stormcloud telegraphing 1968's demise of hope. If 68 signaled the coming of winter, may 2008 herald the rebirth of spring.
punterjoe said, "It was for many of us, the end of innocence and the stormcloud telegraphing 1968's demise of hope. If 68 signaled the coming of winter, may 2008 herald the rebirth of spring."

I didn't want anyone to miss that.
Our school tried to shelter us, and I played along. I refused to react. Our teachers were called to the office, leaving every pupil in the school alone in the classrooms.

When the teachers returned, they had been given the time to compose themselves. We would be going home early. The buses were on the way. It was, even to us, only elementary school kids, self-evident that this was the right thing to do.

Just a year earlier, we were practicing air-raid drills. Leave the school and lie face down on the ground outside. Nuclear weapons might rain down on us at any moment. We couldn't help but peak skyward to see the missiles coming down (I had nightmares for years about nukes raining down on us; we lived within miles of one of America's nuclear arsenals and the advice we internalized was that it would be better to catch the missile by hand and be obliterated instantly than to be one of the nearby short-term "survivors.")

I can't recall how the other pupils reacted. I just know I was numb and determined not to cry.

I rode the bus home. As usual, I went about my own affairs while my little sister told my mother every detail of her day. I crawled under my bed and cried my eyes out. Ultimately, my mom came looking for me. She was surprised to see me so emotionally affected and I was embarrassed to be found cowering under my bed, crying.

I knew it was bad, but I was 7, nearly 8, and went on with my existence. I played football outside during the dramatic days of the lying-in in the Capitol rotunda. It was warm enough that we still had the door open, and I actually watched through the screen door while Jack Ruby shocked the world by shooting Lee Oswald.

I don't remember television before that day, but from that day forward, television was my lifeline to the world. I became the kind of kid who insisted on watching the evening news (Huntley and Brinkley were my icons), and I'm convinced that the first president I knew made a tremendous impact on me and the man I would become.

My embarrassing acknowledgement, Sally, is this. When Mr. Reagan was shot in 1981, I had no grief, no emotional reaction, and that too (my reaction), made me understand that who our leaders are is less important than what they stand for.
Well done . . . well done. Thank you for this remembrance.
Thanks for reposting Sally. Your writing, and the comments, are very moving. I love the way you describe your excitement for that special week...
Owl and Aim, thanks for so kindly commenting here. I promise to do my best to write again like this soon. I've missed it.
I posted this comment on ABlonde's blog post about the assasination, will repeat it here:

I was on my bed in my room studying when Dave Feibush went running through the halls shouting "the president's been shot", Feibush was the kind of guy who'd think a tasteless joke like that was funny, and it just annoyed me, but a few minutes later I noticed how the dorm was unnaturally quiet, so I left my room and went down the hall to where I found a bunch of guys spilling out of Bob Clinton's room listening to his radio, we hung there in stunned disbelief, hoping, until they finally announced he was dead

there was a big Catholic church across Union Street from the south college gate, and I went there to meditate and pray, though I wasn't a believer, but it was his faith and I felt the need to honor him

I'd heard that nobody ever forgot where they were when they heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, and knew that this day would be engraved in my memory the same way, the first great loss of our generation, harbinger of so many losses to come
It changed everything.

Thanks for reposting this.