November 22

Anybody who was born before the mid-1950s has that date tattooed on their brain. We remember where we were on that day at that time.

As for me, I was in third grade at Emerson Grade School in Parkersburg, WV. I had received permission from my teacher to go down the hall to the restroom. On my way back to class, I overheard two upset teachers in the hallway talking.

“President Kennedy has been shot.”

I went springing back into the classroom and made the announcement. My third grade teacher reprimanded me and put me back in the hall for telling a terrible lie.

In life, President Kennedy’s legacy was no different than any other President’s; there was some good and some bad. But due to Kennedy’s untimely death, many look at his presidency through rose-colored glasses. However, without question, through President Kennedy’s diplomacy, by giving Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev something in return for removing the missiles from Cuba, the world walked back from potential nuclear confrontation.

Many refer to that day as the day that began the end of the innocence for our society. The Warren Commission was set up to investigate and provide answers to the American public about what happened on that fateful day. How could our President be shot in broad daylight before a horrified public?

That can be explained by watching the old film from that day; an open top vehicle, people hanging out windows and on rooftops all along the way, Secret Service agents in the vehicle behind the President’s Lincoln, then the slow, 120-degree turn from Houston Street onto Elm Street, and the stage was set for that ugly day. The route was changed on November 19th and published in both Dallas city newspapers to include this turn and to pass many large buildings, in order to give more people the chance to view the President.

The conclusion of the Warren Commission, consisting of high-level government officials, was that Lee Harvey Oswald was the single gunman who was able to fire three shots, and one of those bullets killed President John F. Kennedy. Their conclusion only led to more questions with many conspiracies emerging as a result. For the moment, I will sidestep all of the theories or conspiracies. Whether or not you believe them, clearly, the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was the beginning of the American public questioning the United States Government.

Still it is hard to believe that one bullet killed the President of the United States and changed society forever.

Where were you, and what were you doing on that fateful day? I would love to hear!

2 Thoughts on “November 22

  1. Joan Edmonds on November 21, 2013 at 9:29 am said:

    I like it very much and feel the same way. Way too many questions left, and the media loves to feed us with this lofty view of “Camelot”and simple explanations. The innocense of our nation did change that day, and we got to see first hand how our Federal government started covering-up. Earily, I got the same feeling after the 9-1-1 attacks.

    I too will always remember the day President Kennedy was killed. I was in 7th grade at Central Park Jr. High, in Schenectady, NY. We were all taken from our classrooms and escorted to the auditorium. On stage was a black & white, television console. Much like our home t.v.’s. You could have “heard a pin drop” in the auditorium that day.

  2. Art Buchanan on November 21, 2013 at 12:02 am said:

    Don , I was about 3/4 of a mile away . You might have been able to look out the school window to see where I was down at Madison . Sixth grade . Xenia Campbell , meanest teacher I had all the way through the school system . A white haired stickler for detail ! I actually thought at the time she hated kids and was the most antisocial and mean person I knew . Kennedys murder hit her hard . She basically collapsed in her chair after the speaker announcement about JFK . For what seemed like a half an hour she was head down on the desk . Every now and then a little sob . After she`d composed herself , and after a lot of shoulder shrugging between us in the classroom , she started giving us a lesson about Kennedy . His life , his politics , his family , etc . Her admiration for him and his family really shone through . She even led us through a short prayer for divine guidance of the U.S. and its leaders . Soon after , we were dismissed from school early . Now , I was only 12 at the time , but from listening to adults , I knew Kennedy in West Virginia was a big deal . I knew he stumped around West Virginia using the proverbial soapbox , the hood of a car , or whatever to give his down home style speeches . I remember Dad saying he was impressed Kennedy knew the difference between Charleston and Charlestown . And of course , the ladies loved him …his upbringing , his mannerisms and his good looks . But I`m getting off story . Next day at school , Mrs. Campbell passed out Kennedy silver dollars to everyone in her class . So I guess…..when Kennedy was killed that day , even I knew it was a big deal .

Post Navigation