Monday, November 22, 2010

JFK Remembered

John F. Kennedy

  1. "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
  2. "We need men who can dream of things that never were."
  3. "Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly."
  4. "Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
  5. "Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."
November 22, 1963:
Olympus Jr. High had a TV in the main hall by the office, mounted near the ceiling. That's where the 9th grade lockers were, and after lunch I went to get my health book. Students were gathering to watch a news flash, everybody standing quiet, with necks craned up. Walter Cronkite was telling us that President Kennedy had been shot.

Miss Alvey came into class late, crying, which was totally out of character. She was the kind of gym teacher who made you smile during sit-ups; I assumed she was heartless. Running her hands through her short, dyed black hair she announced, "President Kennedy was assassinated."

I don't think I was familiar with that word yet, but it's meaning was clear. Miss Alvey put her face in her hands and sobbed.

Sue and Jane were part of the popular crowd, and walking home with them was always memorable, but that day is indelible in my mind. Sue cried all the way home, with Jane and I trying to comfort her. It was as if her uncle had died. Later, my mom drove me into Sugarhouse to get my braces tightened, and we listened to the radio. Mom told me how it was when FDR died and how he'd been president so long she'd thought the world would end. Kennedy had only been president for three years, but I thought the world might end.

Sitting in the orthodontist's office there were no metallic smiles that day. The whir from a fish tank was the only sound in the waiting room, and I noticed three other kids were reading the same book I was—To Kill a Mockingbird had just come out in paperback.

I don't think I caught the symbolism then,
but I do now.

It's a day I'll never forget.


Tracy said...

I was 4 years old and my mom had just dropped us off at the babysitter's house. The TV was blaring in the living room and we stood there and stared in silence while the adults sobbed and covered their mouths in horror.

My husband, a former history teacher is infatuated with JFK and our den in paperd with framed memorabilia; photos, campaign buttons, a brick from the Book Depository and an inauguration ticket. Every show that is on TV is recorded and scrutinized but he says it best 'Our entire world changed that day and we'll never know what could have been!'

thank you for remembering...

Diane said...

I remember watching the funeral on TV at home. Everyone silent, just watching.

polly said...

i remember how it affected mom as well. i sat with her while she watched the television and she was crying. i will always be grateful that mom and joyce took kathy and i to see him the september before when he came to slc. we were so close we could almost touch him. he had beautiful eyes! i remember that and i was only in 5th grade.

Grandma Kc said...

I was in 8th grade and I had stayed home sick from school that day and I watched in disbelief as it happened.

Susan Adcox said...

I was at a high school debate tournament. I'll never forget hearing the dirge and the announcement over the loud speaker. And I'll never forget the feeling that our nation was, for a short time at least, unmoored.

Good choice of quotations, not the usual ones.