Friday, November 22, 2013

The Day Camelot died, leaving us a nation forever changed

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 

We all have moments in our lives where we can say "I can remember exactly what I was doing when..." 

For me, it was a normal day in Mrs. Newhouse's 1st grade class at Argos Elementary School. I remember our teacher being called out into the hall.  Through the window in the door, we could see her and the other teachers in the hallway talking to the principal. 

After a few moments she returned to the class in tears. She explained that school was being called and as soon as our school buses arrived, we were to be sent home because the President had been shot and that he had died from his wounds. 

Naturally, some, if not most of my classmates began to cry. Mrs. Newhouse tried to calm us by telling us it would all be okay. But it wasn't... at least not yet. 

I clearly recall the silence and sadness that hung over us as rode the bus home. In the ensuing days leading to the President's funeral, my parents, especially my Dad, were of quietness and them to console us three kids (the fourth, my brother Mike was an infant and oblivious to this tragedy). Bryan would turn 3 a few days later probably has no memory of these days, but I know that Teresa (a year younger than I) clearly remember these sorrowful days.

The night of the President's death, I can still remember lying in bed, unable to sleep, and saying a prayer asking God to make this be nothing more than one big awful dream (which it was) and that the President be okay. 

Of course, we all know some dreams and prayers cannot be answered, especially of a frightened and sad little six year old... and those of a nation in shock as we mourned a beloved President.

The exuberance, the optimism, the youth and vitality of the President's administration came to a screeching halt. This was the day that forever changed America. This was the day that Camelot died and left us all the poorer for it.

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