February 16, 2009
Originally published November 22, 2003
40 years ago, I was eleven years old and in sixth grade.
About 1:30 that afternoon, an announcement came over the school intercom saying that the President had been shot by a sniper and class was dismissed for the day. I remember a girl named Cheryl Cannady clapping her hands and saying, "Goody, goody," as she jumped up and down. I never knew whether she was delighted by the fact Kennedy was shot or she was simply happy about getting out of school early that day. Either way, I still recall thinking that her reaction to the news was a poor one.
I could see my back yard from my classroom at Hesse Elementary School. I didn't have to wait for the school buses to arrive early that day. I walked home.
I entered my house through the back door the way I always did when I walked home from school. I saw my mama in the living room. She was ironing clothes and watching Walter Cronkite on television. She had tears streaming down her face.
I will always remember that image. My mama, crying because the President was dead, but still ironing clothes.
I stayed in front of the television most of that weekend. I was watching the TV when Jack Ruby shot Lee Oswald. I watched the President's funeral. I listened to the bugler blow the bad note when he played "Taps" that day. I knew that I was seeing an important part of American history playing out before me and I watched it unfold as an 11 year-old boy.
I still remember ALL of it to this day.
Yeah. I know exactly where I was and what I was doing on November 22, 1963.
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