It was another world then.  Indeed another America.  It seems as though it didn’t happen in this lifetime, yet the memory is as if it happened yesterday.

I was in 8th grade at W.T.Clarke HS in Westbury New York.  It was about 2:20 (EST) and the principal came over the school PA;   ‘At 1:00 central time this afternoon our President John F.Kennedy was pronounced dead as a result of a shooting in Dallas Texas.   School will  be dismissed early today.’

JFK2JFK 50 – Eyewitness to History – Video produced by The Dallas Morning News

I doubt if ever again there will be so many in shock and grief at the same exact time.    We started pouring out of the classrooms into the hall.  Most of the girls were crying while the boys were trying to not make their tears so obvious.

Students Crying 1963

No social media, YouTube or texts.  Just 4 days of non-stop TV and radio about the assassination and the President’s funeral.    Like many of us who were just kids then, the memory has embedded itself into what was otherwise all American and innocent childhood.   It can be argued that the shots fired that day not only mortally wounded the president, but also the innocence and the character of America.

Funny thing how life works.  We remember them as the ‘good old days’ yet they were anything but that from that day on throughout the 1960s.    MLK then Bobby Kennedy.   Vietnam protests and the civil rights riots.

Then on July 20, 1969 an American stepped foot on the moon.  The inspiration that is surely JFK’s legacy and the ‘can do’ American character were displayed for all the world to see.    It took landing on the moon to restore the pride we lost in Dallas.  The obvious question now is what will it take to restore it again…


John F. Kennedy Moon Speech (1962)

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