Remembering JFK: The world stood still on November 22, 1963
When shots rang out in Dallas, America changed forever.
Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot? For Baby Boomers, the answer is usually “at school when an announcement came across the intercom.” Little did the kids know that as shots rang out in Dallas, the world they had come to know would change forever.
America had emerged from World War II as a superpower, the only nuclear nation, the sole industrial nation unscathed from the devastation that had leveled entire cities throughout Europe and the Far East. Tokyo and Berlin – whose power-hungry dictators had plunged the globe into the most deadly conflict in human history – were smoldering ruins. Germany and Japan’s great factories had been bombed into burnt, twisted metal.
The American general who had led the free world to triumph, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had to decide whether he was a Republican or a Democrat – both parties had offered him the nomination. As a moderate Republican, he took the White House for two terms marked by unprecedented prosperity.
Then a young U.S. Senator from Massachusetts ushered in a brand-new era the press called Camelot. John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” – then proclaimed that America would go to the moon within the decade.