President Kennedy - 50 Years

portrait kennedy-lib congress Today, Friday, Nov. 22nd marks fifty years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Just as it was, a Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, about 2 pm EST that afternoon word had spread of an attempted assassination of the president in Dallas, Texas, where in Dealey Plaza shots had been fired at John F. Kennedy, riding in an open limousine, while traveling in a motorcade on Elm Street, accompanied by wife, Jacqueline, Governor John and Nellie Connally. Governor Connally was also wounded. They were rushed to Parkland Hospital, Kennedy was pronounced dead at 1 pm CST (2pm EST). An obviously emotional CBS newsman, Walter Cronkite, ‘officially’ announced the confirmed report to the nation at 2:38 pm EST; with regular TV programing disrupted for several days.

Where were you? Your ancestors? Those questions of ‘where were you’ mark a generation, anyone born before 1955 has an answer. Has that major moment history where everyone always remember where they were and how they heard about the assassination, been recorded, written down for future generations? Everyone had their television sets on all day and night for days, especially on Monday, November 25th, which was designated a National Day of Mourning. This was the date of Kennedy’s formal funeral procession in the streets of Washington, D. C. and the burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Use this time period to sit down with some relatives who lived that part of world history and ask them ‘where were they when they hear of the assassination’. Cover further about the days afterwards and especially if they witnessed on television as it happened the shooting of the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Wouldn’t it have been a good idea decades earlier if ancestors who remember the day Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941 was bombed by the Japanese and that written down. Go further back and include when America went to war in April 1917, what was the ‘Great War’. If you only had written how your ancestors felt on learning of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, wouldn’t that be a treasure now?

So use this time at the 50th anniversary and get information from relatives and even family friends. It will be quite enlightening to you and to future generations.

Photo: Portrait of President John F. Kennedy (Library of Congress)

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