Friday, 22 November 2013

50 Years Ago Today


I'm a total politics junkie, although not so rabid as I used to be. My very first political memory is from 1963, when I was six. My memory isn't so much a direct memory of JFK's assassination, but of the reaction of the adults around me -- such shock and horror and disbelief. But I do remember, a few days later, coming home from school for lunch and watching JFK's funeral on our black-and-white TV. There was a very real sense that the world had just gone completely stark-raving mad. The only event since then which has matched that reaction is 9/11.

[This post previously appeared on my blog on November 22, 2008]

26 comments:

Snap said...

a loss of innocence. i was 14, in school and suddenly classes were cancelled. we were told to go home and i wondered how to get home .. too far to walk .. no bus. i ended up going to a friends house and making lots of frantic calls to my parents. watching the tv for days on end. it still makes me queasy.

Kay G. said...

Debra,
You and I are the exact same age!
Funny thing, I remember asking my friends when we were in high school what they remember about that day, and most of them said they didn't remember, that they were too young! I remember it very well, all the TV coverage with no commericials.

heartinhand said...

I was not born yet, but that doesn't mean I have grown up not understanding the impact of it.
The 60s were a heady time of chaos and change. Some of those changes are still trying to take effect.
Sigh.

mxtodis123 said...

I was also in school that day. I was 16 years old. I remember how our principal's voice came over the loudspeaker telling us to go home. Then it was endless hours watching our old black and white television. So surreal.
Mary

Francie M said...

Living so close to Niagara Falls, a major power source for the Eastern US & Canada we lived in total fear that the Russians were going to nuke us during the Cold War. The assassination of the American president that day was absolutely terrifying.

Elsie said...

I wasn't born yet but, being a political junkie myself, I am watching the coverage today.

DEZMOND said...

The same reaction I had when some ten years ago my prime minister was assassinated....

Laurie said...

its been brought back to memory this week on television so strongly, the controversy of the shooting and the pain of th country, heart wrenching for sure,

Linda Wildenstein said...

I was in English class in 8th grade when we were told over the PA system and asked to go home. The whole rest of the day seemed to move in slow motion. We have 2 military bases here and they were put on high alert. It was a very scary time. It was also such a sad and unreal time. I look back at it now and I can still recall everything about what I saw, heard and how I felt. His assassination changed everything for the world in terms of negotiation, respect, resolve. He was only a man but he was a shining star.

Anne Johnson said...

We are just about the same age! I was four years old, and ... exactly like you ... I was dismayed to see my mother crying, and Walter Cronkite crying on the news. That was so scary! And, didn't you feel off kilter for a long time afterwards? Funny how I can remember that, after 50 years.

I was older when Martin Luther King got shot, so I remember that better. The black communities erupted in outrage. That assassination set race relations back a looooong way, contributed to "white flight" and riots in the cities. When people say America is in the crapper today, I kind of laugh. No one who lived through the 1960s would feel that our country is worse off (except Rush Limbaugh, who's paid to feel that way).

And wow, this is the scary part. The JFK assassination happened a half century ago! Every time I think about this, I feel the walls of time closing in.

Miss Val's Creations said...

I wasn't born until 74 but I do remember September 11th as clear as day. Moments like those are life and world changing!

Jim said...

I was in grade 10 at a Roman Catholic high school. Half of the teachers there were nuns who were from the Boston area. When the announcement was made over the PA system around 2:30 PM, I remember hearing the nuns outside their classrooms crying. I will never forget it. And I too was glued to the TV for the entire weekend.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I wasn't born until about 15 months after this tragedy, but I've known about it my whole life. The magnitude of some events keeps their memory alive forever.

sophie...^5 said...

While I was skating on a rink I heard this story as I exited the building. We kids all rushed to a furniture store that my Mom was employed to watch the TV's in the windows.........stunned!

Ron

Leeanna said...

I was nine years old. My teacher was called from the classroom and when she came back in she was crying. She said school is cancelled for that day. She didn't say why but that we should all go home. We didn't go back to school until the following Tuesday after the president's funeral.

When I got home my mom was crying. I asked her why, and she got mad and said why aren't you in school. I was stunned when I finally found out that Kennedy was assassinated. I cried on and on the whole weekend. While watching the funeral procession on TV, I was numb. I still couldn't believe it.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i was a little girl in grade school. they sent us home early and i found my mom sitting on the sofa watching tv and crying. she was dead 2 months later. it was such an awful time.

Joy Christi said...

My mother, like everyone else, was so obsessed with this. Every special, newscast, every time anyone talked about this, she would record it on our VCR and watch it over and over and over.
I think part of it, besides the obvious, was that he was the first president to be on television SO MUCH, everyone felt they could relate to them, as a family, not just a leader. Tragedy.

Vanessa Morgan said...

I wasn't even born back then, but I can have an idea what it must have been like.

Magic Love Crow said...

I wasn't born yet, but my mom said, she will never forget that day, because it was the same day, that my dad's father passed away!

Birdie said...

Though I was not even alive when he was shot I have watched commentaries and documentaries and something inside of me hurts. And I wish I could forget 9/11. I also remember the Challenger blowing up.

DWei said...

This is way before my time.

klahanie said...

It truly was for us old enough to remember, a where were you moment, captured in time.

I was attending elementary school in Vancouver and we were taken to the auditorium to hear the announcement.

Peace,

Gary

Fundy Blue said...

There was a feeling that the whole world had gone stark raving mad! And there was fear too about the Russians and nuclear war. Such an unbelievable time!

Riot Kitty said...

I can't even imagine what that was like. Was it worse than 9/11, equal? Not as bad?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You know, Riot Kitty, I'd say it was worse -- if only because it the first time in generations that such an unimaginable thing had happened. People were truly shocked to the core.

SUZY8-TRACK said...

I wasn't born yet, but I certainly remember where I was when the Challenger Space shuttle exploded and of course 9/11.