Nov 22, 1963--Where Were You?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Tom Butler, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Forty-nine years ago today, President John Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas.

    Where were you when you heard the news, and how did you react?

    My wife and I were on the road from Wickliffe,Kentucky to Paducah, 28 miles away, after visiting her mother. The radio was on, and suddenly one of the local announcers broke in, breathing heavily, to tell us that JFK had been shot, and taken to a hospital.

    I glanced over to Phyllis, and saw tears running down her face.

    We arrived home, and I immediately headed for the TV station, where I worked as an anchor-reporter. By then, NBC News was on the air with Chet Huntley and Frank McGee. It wasn't long until those two men, their voices shaking, reported that the President had died.

    Ourtide, a light rain was falling. I thought, even the skies are weeping.

    That Friday, we were preparing for a local telethon to raise money for Easter Seal centers in four different states. It would run 15 hours, and NBC game show host Art James was going to be the emcee.

    The question was, cancel the telethon or go ahead with the telecast. The decision was--to carry on. The cause was too important, and despite the shock of Friday, we'd go on.

    The telethon went on the air at 10pm Saturday in our studios. On Sunday morning, one of our directors glanced at a monitor which always carried what NBC was feeding. Lee Harvey Oswald appeared on the screen.

    Quickly, the director put the NBC feed on the air, interrupting the Telethon. NBC Correspondent Tom Pettit was narrating . You know the rest of the story. Well, maybe you don't if you're young. Jack Ruby, the owner of a local Dallas bar, had gotten into the police station with a gun, and as Oswald was walked by, Ruby shot him.

    Back in the studio, we're in shock. Emcees, performers, producers, directors, all trying to figure out what to do. We knew we would eventually go back to the telethon, how would we handle the transition?

    Finally, the decision was made to cut away from NBC and our folks handled it about as well as we could under the circumstances.

    That's my story. What about yours?
     
    #1 Tom Butler, Nov 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2012
  2. tomana

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    That's some recall you shared with us, even detailed the rain coming down. Thanks for sharing. Personally speaking, I was 5 at the time and have no memory of the event but I do remember when Robert was shot. In class at school the teacher had us do a daily update on the board, until of coarse he died. By ten I was 10 and tend to remember those years a little better :)
     
    #2 tomana, Nov 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2012
  3. Winman

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    I can remember Nov. 22, 1963 very well, as it was a very unusual day for me. I was very young, just 9 years old, in the 4th grade in Greensboro, N.C..

    That morning there was a School Boy Patrol meeting, in which I was promoted. There is a reason I remember this clearly.

    As soon as school was over I began to walk home when a boy who lived behind our house jumped me from behind. He was angry because I had been promoted in the School Boy Patrol. This fellow would later stab his own father to death when he grew up. This kid was much bigger than me, but I managed to get on top of him and was giving him a whipping, when our school principal pulled me off of him. He had seen this fellow jump me and let me go, he dragged the other kid back into the school to be punished.

    This day was also unusual in that my Dad had instructed me to walk to my Aunt Rachel's house that day instead of going home. She lived a few blocks away, so I walked to her house. Just before I got to my Aunt's house, an older kid in my neighborhood came running out of his house shouting, "Old man Kennedy is dead!". I really didn't know who he was talking about. I knew our President was named Kennedy, but I didn't think of him as an old man, so I didn't know who this kid Larry was talking about.

    Just as I arrived at my Aunt Rachel's house she came out on the porch. She was crying and told me the President had been shot and just died. She was very upset. That was the first moment I knew the President had been assassinated.

    So, it was a very unusual day for me that I will never forget. I remember being upset that all they showed on TV the next week was the assassination and I was missing my favorite shows and cartoons. But I was just a little kid.

    I also remember Oswald getting shot two days later, I had just walked in a friend's house when that happened. They were watching it on TV.
     
  4. padredurand

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    I was two at the time. Thanks for your contribution to preserving history. C.S. Lewis died the same day somewhat unnoticed at the time.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Your stories are a strong reminder to me that I need to sit my grandchildren down and tell them my story. I've written down a lot of things about my life so they'll know what makes Granddaddy tick.

    I remember telling them (at ages 9 and 5) about growing up in a segregated society in West Tennessee. You know, separate schools, separate drinking fountains, separate seating at the movies and on the buses, the whole thing.

    The grandkids had no experience like that. My granddaughter was fascinated by my stories, Her reacton? "Granddaddy, that's the craziest thing I've ever heard."

    So, I need to tell the Kennedy story to my grandchildren. If you have any, you should, too. I bet you all can tell them a lot of stories they'll find interesting.
     
  6. Alcott

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    I was 4, and I seem to remember my sister, 6, told me that "President Kennedy was riding in a car and he got shot." The impact didn't really register, perhaps because I saw so many people get shot on TV on westerns and cartoons. And I remember watching the funeral proceedings on television, and as they showed the cars and people, a transluscent image of Kennedy was flashed on the upper left corner of the screen, and at that age I didn't know that that wasn't his ghost, per se, looking down on it.

    I went to my niece's house for Thanksgiving today, and usually my sister-in-law's parents come, but only her mom came today, because her dad was at Dealy Plaza at his annual meeting of witnesses. He was among some construction workers who went at their lunchtime to watch president's motorcade, and he was about 15 feet away from him when the first 2 shots were fired. I just saw a brief interview with him and another man on the news tonight, and I understand he is going to be quoted in the Dallas Morning News edition tomorrow. Hi name is John Templin.
     
  7. saturneptune

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    I was eleven, in the sixth grade. We were in the cafeteria line, and the principle announced the President and Governor of Texas had been shot. After lunch, we returned to class, and were sent home shortly afterwards when it was known the President was dead. It seems we did not come back until Monday, then Thanksgiving break was the next week. That is my only memory, other than watching Mom and some of the neighbor women glued to the TV and crying during coverage of the funeral. Dad went deer hunting that weekend.
     
  8. Bob Alkire

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    I was in Orlando, Fl. I felt bad that the president was killed, but didn't feel any pain as they now say. I had just got discharged from the service and most of my friends in the service were not JFK supports, they felt bad more for what had happen than for their love or lack of love for him. I guess the best way to explain that day is that if BHO were assassinated I would feel real bad and hurt that in this country the president was killed, and it is wrong from a Christian view has nothing to do with my feeling for BHO, that was much of my feelings on that day back then.
     
  9. Crabtownboy

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    I was in the college library trying to find the answer to a reference problem when another student came up and siad, "Have you heard, President Kennedy has been shot." After class I walked to the public library where I worked several hours two or three days a week. My dad picked me up at the library along with my mom and my wife and we drove to my grandparents in WV. There was no radio in the car. We watched a lot of TV that weekend, black and white TV of course, and lots of snow on the picture as we were in the mountains of WV.

    Everyone was in the living room watching the news report when Oswald was shot. I missed that as I had just walked to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee when Oswald was shot and that famous photo taken. Looking back it is hard to imagine how lax the security was in the Dallas Police Station that day.

    [​IMG]
     
    #9 Crabtownboy, Nov 24, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2012
  10. Bob Hope

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    William Greer shot JFK.
     
  11. SolaSaint

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    Tom,

    I was only 5 but I do remember my mother watching TV and crying. I remember the funeral much better. I guess my parents had me sit and watch it?

    Did Wickliffe KY smell like it does now back in 63? I travel Hwy 60 between there and Paducah several times a year for my work and when I go through Wickcliffe it sometimes has a horrible smell. I've heard it is a paper plant??
     
  12. preachinjesus

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    I was a spec in the eye of my father who did not even know my mother yet.
     
  13. InTheLight

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    I was 5 years old, just home from morning kindergarten and can remember my mom glued to the TV set as the story unfolded. I remember she was a loyal viewer of "As The World Turns" and the assassination coverage interrupted her show. When the newspaper with the story in it came out it had the largest type font I had ever seen. I still have the newspaper, BTW.

    YouTube has the video of the real time coverage as it happened live on the air.

    I do remember the TV coverage and the funeral coverage taking over the TV for about a week, it seemed.
     
  14. InTheLight

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    Poncho meet Bob. Bob, this is Poncho.
     
  15. Tom Bryant

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    I was in the 7th grade at Swanson Jr High in Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac from DC. We were sent home early. We sat watching the events on TV and, like others, was home on Sunday morning when Oswald was shot.

    Then on Monday, (there was no school), I watched my trumpet teacher play taps at President Kennedy's interment at Arlington Cemetery. The news people said that he was overcome with emotion. He told me that they changed the time he was supposed to play at the last minute and his mouthpiece was cold.
     
  16. Winman

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  17. preachinjesus

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    I thought it was George HW Bush...;-)
     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    It was the Mafia... or the CIA... or LBJ ... or maybe it was his wife for his affairs.
     
  19. Winman

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    Jackie wasn't involved, but you and preachinjesus are right about the others. Follow Files and you will learn about the rest.
     
  20. Tom Bryant

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    We could retire the national debt if everyone who had a theory about who killed the President had to chip in $1 for every page written and now every minute of youtube videos about how they cracked the case.

    Have fun.
     

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