When President Kennedy was shot

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A number of people across the web have posted their memories of where they were the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Mine is short: I was at sea aboard the ship of the U.S. Navy that he visited less than a week before he was shot.

11 Comments

Not on the grassy knoll?

Well, ok then…

Glen Davidson

Seventh Grade. Louisiana. The class was “core,” half our school day with a teacher who taught social studies, civics, history, English and prepared us for high school.

She came into the classroom after lunch obviously shaken. She began to talk about what we had learned about government, how the congress worked and about succession. We listened but were clueless. Finally she sat down, looked sad and told us, “The president has been shot.” One guy in the back of the class, an asshole and a bully as I recall, stood up and shouted, “Hooray!” but was met by a withering stare from Mrs. Alford. She was having none of it.

You have to remember, Kennedy at the time was not universally loved, especially in the South and my parents in particular were scathing about Kennedy and the entire Camelot thing.

Alford stood up and commanded the class to be quiet and respectful and about that time the librarian came to the door and said, simply, “He’s dead. The president is dead.”

We spent the remainder of the day talking about succession and that we had a new president, Johnson.

Then we all went home.

Richard, I didn’t post on your last effort concerning ‘Freshie’ as I wanted to tell you in a selfish, individual way, that I too have followed the case since 2002, and that your input was superb; Thanks!

Kennedy? Thank god Kruschev was sensible.

I was in the doorway of the living room of my co-op rooming house at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, having some hazily political conversation with my housebrother Jim “Savage” Schwalbach, who as usual was also avoiding studying.

Another housebrother shouted down the stairs “Kennedy’s been shot!”. We stared at each other – this was not believable. So we turned on the radio in the living room. There was the usual midday music program, so obviously nothing alarming had happened. We were just settling back to our conversation when an announcer broke into the music: “We interrupt this program …”.

I was in grade 6. When I got home my mother told me the news.

I was working for IBM at the time and was at an office of AAA which was one of IBM’s customers.

This was a very tense time in the Cold War. The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kruschev had been banging his shoe on the table at the UN. Just 3 years earlier I had been skulking around underwater on one of the Navy’s diesel electric subs that were still carrying the primary ops load at the time; just as the nuclear subs were achieving the technological quietness to take over.* So I was quite aware of the possible ramifications of Kennedy’s assassination on the Cold War. Vietnam was not on the public radar, but already things were heating up there.

* Suggested reading about that time: Blind Man’s Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew.

I was in high school. (Class of ‘65) We were in either a civics class or an American history class. (ironic) I can’t remember which because both classes were taught by Mr. Groth in identical classrooms, one on the second floor and the other right above it on the third.

The class was in session when the overhead speaker came on. There was no announcement, just a local radio station. After a minute or so we heard that the president had been shot. That was the end of all lessons that day. I don’t remember if we went home early or not. Everything past “the president has been shot” is lost in the haze.

Eighth grade, Louisiana. We heard the news during lunch, then went to the next class (band, behind the stage in the gym). It was there that we heard the news over the PA that Kennedy had died.

There were some students who thought this a very good thing, because now we would get a Southerner as President and there would be an end to things like integration (which didn’t happen in my high school until 1968).

School was cancelled, so we milled about (the school “hallway” was mostly outdoors) waiting for the bus.

4th grade. Still in Catholic school, but starting to “read between the lines” of those Bible stories taught as fact. Many years later I suspected that that was the intent, as least for some teachers, such as the ones who knew a little science. A month earlier I got my first chemistry set, which, more than anything, fueled an interest in science that I already had as far back as I can remember. The first “current event” I can remember was Sputnik in 1957.

On this date in ‘63 I saw Oswald get shot on TV, but I’m not sure if it was live or one of the many replays.

I was in Madison WI walking down Linden Dr on my way to English quiz section. I passed someone with a radio and overheard “Garfield” which I interpreted as something to do with Chicago area high school football. When I got to the quiz section someone with a radio announced that the president had been shot. Shortly it was announced that the president was dead. I spent the rest of the weekend in front of the TV in shock and disbelief.

Of course the news rapidly spread round the world. I live in England and had just returned home from work when there was a news flash that he had been shot. Wanting to get more detail I started searching through the radio dial to pick up an American programme which had more news.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 22, 2013 4:13 PM.

NCSE webinar: Citizen response to attacks on science education was the previous entry in this blog.

Lenski’s experiment: 25 years and 58,000 generations is the next entry in this blog.

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