Column: Where were you?

Nov. 16, 2013 @ 06:51 AM

There are those moments in time that are so historically significant that during a person’s entire life, one will never forget where they were.

My parents’ generation never forgot where they were that December morning when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and less than four years later when World War II was over. My generation and our children’s generation will never forget where we were when the Twin Towers were hit and collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

And finally, it is doubtful anyone of my generation will ever forget where they were the day President John F. Kennedy was shot and later died. It was a day that few would forget. Nor would many forget the four days of constant television news coverage, newspaper and magazine articles and photos as a country grieved and buried its young president. Most would never forget the photo of the president’s young son saluting the horse-drawn carriage that passed by, carrying his father’s casket.

Much has been written about the end of the 1,000-day presidency. It was called the end of Camelot. Many of us will not forget what followed: an unpopular war that brought protests from many, conspiracy theories about the president’s death, his own brother’s murder a few years later, the Civil Rights movement and the murder of its spiritual leader. It was time of constant change and protest.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. I find it hard to believe that 50 years has passed for an event that I can so clearly remember.

Where was I?

I was a student in Sister DeLaSalle’s sixth-grade class. I can remember the announcement coming over the PA system, and I can remember the entire school falling to their knees as we prayed for a president. Then I can remember the principal coming back over the PA system, telling us that Kennedy had died. I can remember students crying. I can remember some of us going to church to pray and finally walking home to our parents. Finally, I can also remember my mother’s tear-stained face and my father’s anger and eventual tears.

It was time that we will never forget. It was Nov. 22, 1963.