Remembering the day we lost JFK

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This morning I was watching the CBS Sunday morning show, all about John Kennedy, and it was mentioned about the effect his assassination had on a generation of young people just coming of age. My remembrances:

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My dad picked me up at school to go home for ‘dinner’ (we didn’t do lunch, then) and when he picked me up he said, “The President’s been shot.” I laughed because my Dad was known for his consistent sense of humor and joking manner. He said, “No, he really has been shot…” I remember the feeling of disbelief…..shock….and tears forming, as I have always been lachrymose. We went home and watched the events on TV….saw Walter Cronkite, with uncharacteristic emotion, state the President was dead.

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After getting back to school, in the hallway, some cretin….I still don’t remember who it was….came waltzing down the hallway, while I am getting books out of my locker, singsonging…..”They shot ol’ Kennedy, ol’ Kennedy is deader than a door bell…..” He was laughing. Something inside of me snapped (we were right across the hall from the Principal’s office) and I only remember grabbing him and ripping his shirt and telling him to get out of my sight. About the time, our Principal appeared in the doorway…a Principal who had a zero tolerance policy for any kind of fighting….locked eyes with me and almost imperceptibly nodded his understanding. (I found out, much later, he was a WWII hero and had seen horrific things in his life.)

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I next remember our math teacher handing out test papers. He stated, “These things happen, and we have to keep going on.” I am sure, in his mind, he meant well, but I never forgave him. It was a time when an adult should have faced us and talked about it. We needed some kind of understanding. America had just lost her innocence and we couldn’t have been more in shock if a family member had been killed.

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The Kennedy family was royalty. We were all caught up with the unprecedented and unPresidented charisma of this young President. We idolized him. We hadn’t gotten far enough, at that point, to develop any kind of political bias or much understanding. But, we knew he was our hero. He had stood up to the Russians during a time we had been raised to fear the Russians and had been lectured on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. We knew where the designated fallout area was in the school. We lived under the fear…..and JFK had stood up to these bullies and made them remove those missiles from that little island off our shores.

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I have often wondered if our world would be very different today, if JFK had survived and lived to serve another term. JFK had announced he planned to get us out of Vietnam, about a month prior to his assassination. That may have been part of what got him killed, and we will probably never know the truth. And, of course, it is all speculative….but, it does make me wonder.

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Later…..MLK is killed…..RFK is killed…..the Manson murders….LSD….demonstrations…mayhem. America was never the same.

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We know that much of our public perspective of JFK was a creation of a brilliant strategy, started by JFK’s father and the man and the myth were quite different, but I still mourn his passing. And never completely got over it.download

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About Jerry LeFever

LeFever, aka King, is a very strange individual, and this blog started all about boondocking, which we do in the summer, but I have had to put in a couple of other posts, just for fun. Maybe I need to separate them and make two blogs. No matter. I am old, just went back to work (from home, YES!) and should be able to work even in our summer digs off the grid. Life is good.
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6 Responses to Remembering the day we lost JFK

  1. GW King says:

    Fantastic words my brother! GW King King Retirement Solutions King College Planning (970) 874-9300 Office (970) 260-8781 Cell phone

  2. Larry Barron says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    How’s the weather in the Deep South? Getting kind of cool up here with some white stuff on top of them hills.

    • Nice and warm today…needed the AC. A cold front is coming to cool it down a bit. Typical Texas winter weather…the north and the south winds competing. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read my rambling. 🙂

  3. Texas Heat says:

    Well done Lynn. I think you captured the essence of the time very well. I try not to think about that horrible time but the media won’t let us forget. Just as well. I won’t write about that day but if I did I could not possibly write a better summation of that day and the subsequent events that shaped our lives.
    Thanks for sharing friend.

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