Remembering JFK: The world stood still on November 22, 1963
When shots rang out in Dallas, America changed forever.
“When class was over, the principal let us all go home early. I was incredibly sad, because I liked President Kennedy, even at that young age. In social studies class, we memorized his challenge, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’ I rushed home and watched the frightening images on TV with my family, thinking, This doesn’t happen in America… This only happens in countries where there are terrible problems. To me, it was a rude wake-up call that no country is really safe from evil people and their wicked schemes. Kennedy’s assassination ushered in a different era in America: and I often wondered if the rebellion and unrest of young people in the ‘60’s got its start with the death of the President.”
“That afternoon, I was a gawky fifth grader in my favorite class – English – with my favorite teacher, Mr. Davis,” remembers Jane Struck, former editor of Today’s Christian Woman magazine. “He had just asked a boy to recite, but before he could, an office staffer entered our classroom and whispered into Mr. Davis’s ear. Suddenly he was herding us into the gymnasium. There our principal solemnly announced we were dismissed for the day because something had happened to the President.
“When Mom met me at the bus stop, she was in tears. Together we watched on our tiny black-and-white TV as news anchor Walter Cronkite tearfully announced President Kennedy’s death. I’ll never forget how saddened and shaken I felt.”
Newspapers proclaimed the terrible news
College professor Cris Richardson was only a third grader. “My teacher, Mrs. Allbright was playing “Puff the Magic Dragon” on the record player. I was intently listening because this song even today makes me happy and sad. Suddenly someone was knocking frantically on the door. It had to be important – it was the principal. We all can see how upset she is. Although the record was still playing, we began whispering, ‘What is wrong?’