Where were you when…

Where were you when you heard JFK had been murdered?

I was sitting at the bar in the officer's club at Fort Greely, Alaska.  I was eating a reindeer burger (cheaper than beef up there).  I was a lieutenant and in Alaska for a course in arctic warfare.  The black and white TV set suddenly stopped playing an episode of Ozzie and Harriet and the news reader announced that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.  He did not say that the president had died.  Ozzie and Harriet resumed.  I had another draft beer and contemplated.  It was minus 45 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the wind was blowing as usual.  The thought of standing in the cold and wind to wait for a post bus to take me and a friend back to our billet was just too much, just too much.  The newsman came back on and told us all that Kennedy had died.  There was complete silence in the bar.  Not a word was said.

The next day there was a ceremony of remembrance held in front of the post headquarters.  The sun was shining brightly.  The storm flag was at half staff.  It was frozen as solid as a plank.  It beat itself against the staff so strongly that it seemed to share our grief.  All military personnel were mustered in arctic kit (white) and on cross country skis.  I remember how cold the ski poles were even through many layers of insulation.  The post commander, a colonel, read a statement from the new commander in chief and Taps sounded over the PA system.  At the last note, the first gun was fired in the beginning of a 21 gun cannon salute to the old commander in chief.

What had been a bright day was instantly transfomed into a dense fog.  This is called arctic fog.  It is caused by a sudden precipitation of ice crystals in the atmosphere.  The gun did that.

It seemed a fitting thing.  pl


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94 Responses to Where were you when…

  1. I walked out of a PM history seminar my Junior Year with the Professor and while we stood on the library steps another student ran by and yelled JFK shot and killed. I thought my Professor was going to die right there of a heart attack. After waiting to see if he could walk I left for my dorm.
    In Robert Caro’s 4th volume on LBJ while he does not state it flat out he strongly suggests LBJ would not have been on the ticket with LBJ in 1964! Bobby Baker was indicted the day JFK
    was killed.

  2. The Twisted Genius says:

    I’ll probably make you feel old. I was in 5th grade, in Mr. Honan’s class in the Algonquin School in Prospect, Connecticut. He was called to the office and when he returned, he told us that President Kennedy has been shot. We were released immediately. I walked home not believing the news. When I got home, my mother confirmed that the Kennedy was shot. I began watching the news on our TV. I don’t think we went to school the next day, Friday, and don’t remember what it was like when classes did start. It’s all kind of a unbelievable blur.
    There was a picture of Kennedy outside the principal’s office and the quote, “Ask now what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” was displayed in large letters on the wall. This sentiment figured largely in this small New England town which started as a separatist Puritan settlement.

  3. FB Ali says:

    I was sitting on a sand hillock in the desert artillery range in Muzaffargarh observing an artillery practice shoot. Someone called on the field telephone from the gun position saying they’d just heard on the news that Kennedy had been killed. It was quite a shock.
    A few months earlier I’d returned from Canada after spending two years at the Canadian Staff College. During the course we’d participated in the ‘love fest’ that engulfed North America over the Kennedys. He had seemed to be a symbol of hope for a new era.
    It was a sad ending to all that.

  4. steve says:

    7th grade algebra class with Mrs. Stahl.
    Our classroom intercom was out, but we could hear some “noise” coming from the other classes’ intercoms.
    Mrs. Stahl went to another class to figure out what was going on, came back, and told us.
    Next up was PE with Coach Wilson who informed us that some sick person had killed the president.

  5. Walrus says:

    Dad and I came back from my swimming lesson to find Mom waiting for us in the driveway in tears.

  6. oofda says:

    As I recall, that “cold weather gear” was not that warm. About a decade after you were at Greely, I was at Pickle Meadows going through Marine cold-weather/mountain training- with largely the same gear, Mickey Mouse boots and all. The skis and gear did not work that well.
    I was in high school on 23 November, 1963- I recall students coming back from lunch with transistor radios- something strictly forbidden in our school. I asked one classmate what he thought he was doing and he replied that the President had been shot- I didn’t believe him at first and gradually, when I saw other students with transistors and heard the programming it sunk in. Later, they made the announcement of the President’s death over the school speaker system. Everyone was quiet, except for an upperclassman sitting in front of me who exclaimed, “That means Lyndon Johnson will be President!” Shortly afterwards, there was a school assembly and classes were cancelled for the day.

  7. John Minnerath says:

    I was standing with a few others waiting for our mess hall to open for breakfast in our barracks. Company D 1st SFG at Machinato, Okinawa.
    A guy cam running down the hall saying he’d heard Kennedy had been shot on KOMA, some may remember that AM radio station in Oklahoma City that beamed powerful signals all over the world back then and was often our only live connection to things back in the states.
    At morning formation after chow things were still in confusion, we were told that unless we had other duties we were all restricted to barracks till what happened was known. Rumors flew and it was several hours before we actually learned he had been assassinated and was dead.
    We went on full alert and the recall went out for people scattered all over the island while we drew arms and ammunition and tried to prepare an unknown immediate threat. The PRC was the big black cloud at the time.
    I was a Catholic and after things settled down got volunteered to stand in an Honor Guard at a High Mass that seemed to last forever.
    For us in Special Forces with our Patron gone our independence ended and we came under the direct command of USARYIS immediately.
    A very unwelcome status and the world changed.

  8. robt willmann says:

    I was in elementary school, and class was interrupted by an announcement over the intercom — the wooden box on the wall back then — that President Kennedy had been shot. I was too young at that time to realize that politics spawns more violence than anything else both domestically and against other political structures and “foreign” peoples, that even the president can be shot down in broad daylight in front of many witnesses and the legal system can be subverted about that event, that physicians can be intimidated or compromised into testifying falsely about what they know, and the various other expressions of the bad side of human nature that reveal themselves to us as we grow older.

  9. turcopolier says:

    “Pickle Meadows?” This is up in the California mountains? The Army used to have a place like that at Camp Hale, Colorado. This is quite different from what used to be called the “Northern Warfare Training Center” at Fort Greely. At Greely the training temperature is rarely above – 40 degrees and often is at -60 degrees. At those temperatures you are living in something that resembles a different, snow blasted planet. Machinery stops operating the way it normally does, tires freeze square on the bottom, flesh freezes instantly to metal, etc. I think that a different level of cold weather gear was issued there. we wore the white “mouse boots,” not the black ones, long underwear, field pants with liners, heavy wool shirts, arctic parkas with liners, arctic mittens. Basically you had half a dozen layers of clothes on. you wore all of these when not in motion and started taking them off to put in your rucksack as you warmed up. the one thing you needed to avoid was sweating because it would freeze on you. The graduation exercise was a 100 mile ski march. There were bears and wolves everywhere. By the end of the course you knew how to survive and operate in that environment but you needed the right gear. The instructors were professionals and they beat into your head the idea that you can’t overcome that kind of environment with will power. you have to know what you are doing. pl

  10. LeeG says:

    I was home sick from 3rd grade watching tv while mom made a quick dash to the store. When mom came back through the door I said “the president was shot”. I think that was the first time I saw her upset.

  11. steve g says:

    I was a senior in high school that day.
    Was assigned to run the school four page
    weekly newspaper on an ancient roto-gravure
    press. When we were informed of the incident
    we went back to our respective classes and sat
    there quietly until the school days end and
    returned home.
    Watched the coverage the next day on black and
    white TV. We sat incredulous at the shooting
    of Oswald live. Every time they show this it
    seems like yesterday. During the funeral pro-
    cession the whole family cried. First time I
    ever saw my dad shed a tear.
    Re cold weather training. Many of us in the
    north wore those surplus “bunny boots” as we
    called them in the 60s and 70s. Worked well
    if you changed the liners daily. We dont get
    those extreme Siberian blasts like we used to.
    25 to 30 below with windchills in the 50 to 60
    degree range. No margin for error. Those
    conditions could kill you in 30 minutes if you
    are not dressed properly. As an old Nordic
    axiom proclaimed “The North wind made the Vikings”

  12. The Twisted Genius says:

    I still have a set of those old white skis and a parka with liner and wolf ruff hood in my cellar. And those arctic mittens with trigger fingers were marvelous.
    When Dick Potter was 10th Group commander, he oversaw the development of the new Army cold weather gear in the early 80s. A few of our mountain teams directed the development and testing of the mostly commercial gear including the now ubiquitous polypropylene/fleece/gortex clothing. When the Falklands war started, Potter, who served an exchange tour with the SAS, sent the entire first batch of that gear to the Brits. After the war, the 22d SAS commander said that gear saved a lot of lives and preserved his men’s combat effectiveness in that cold wet environment. You are absolutely right. When the right honorable Winslow T. Hawkins, aka “The Hawk,” comes knocking, you need the right gear and the right know how.

  13. Charles I says:

    5 years old at Kenollie P.S, for some reason a picture of self outside doors of school understanding we were being let out in awful circumstances is one of my most distinct recurring childhood memories.

  14. Bobo says:

    Just an announcement over the Beverly, Ma High School loudspeaker (sophomore) letting school out early. Everyone was a bit confused as you could hear….hey why we getting out…Mr. Kennedy died….oh, Peters Dad….I don’t know, maybe….and so it went. Knew something was up but not till I got home and Ma was crying watching the TV. Whole family was either watching TV or in church for days on end it seemed. What a great loss then and even today as it still seems the man had so much potential to do good for this country. “What could have been” is always my thoughts when thinking of JFK.

  15. seydlitz89 says:

    I was in first grade, Catholic school, Temple Texas, not far south from Dallas. An announcement came over the loud speaker that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas and taken to Parkland Hospital. We all got down on our knees next to our little desks and said a prayer for the President. The only other thing I remember from that day is my mother picking me up from school and telling me that the president was dead.

  16. Alba Etie says:

    I was in fifth grade as well – we were released immediately to go home. It was a terrible & horrifying day .

  17. turcopolier says:

    steve G
    “Worked well if you changed the liners daily.” The white mouse boots had no liners. They were like a thermos bottle and had an air escape valve on the side. You could fall into water just about at the freezing temperature and within a minute the water in the boot would be at room temperature. pl

  18. Coincidentally, I was also in an officer’s club.This one was at a kaserne near Straubing in Bavaria. Roger McLeod, a Norwich grad from Boston came into the dining room and announced that President Kennedy had been killed. The memory remains quite vivid.

  19. Maureen Lang says:

    A little late to this thread, but here it is:
    I was on the playground at my Catholic grammar school hanging from the gym bars by my knees (used to love doing this for some odd reason). Our 8th grade teacher Sister Claire came out ringing a large hand bell- we were being called in early. Mother Gertrude, the principal, told each classroom individually that our parents were being phoned to pick us up, or to let them know we were riding our bikes/walking home. We were told there had been a national emergency. Frightened, I rode home with a friend. We put our bikes in the back yard- my mother greeted us both at the front door with, “They shot Kennedy. He’s probably dead.”

  20. steve g says:

    I was thinking of the felt exterior
    version of those boots. A co-worker
    did have the type you mentioned. Had
    forgotten the difference of the two.

  21. Basilisk says:

    US Air Force Security Service, Cudjoe Key, FL, Getting ready to go work a swing shift. You can guess our target.
    All that night, all over Cuba came the words, “he is dead.” Cubana Airlines held their Havana flight from Mexico City for a “special passenger.” The passenger never came, the flight took off around midnight. I always wondered about that.

  22. MikeB says:

    I was working in a darkroom, of course listening to rock and roll at that age, when they broke into the music and made the announcement. I came out of the room with I guess a shocked look on my face because my Chief took one look at me and asked me what was wrong. I told him the President had been shot and he of course did not believe me. While listening to further radio reports we watched several tin cans exiting the port at full speed, the bone in their teeth and black smoke billowing out of their stacks, something that was just not ever done in that narrow channel.
    But I was standing on Ford Island just a few hundred yards from the USS Arizona monument and events like that are taken very seriously there.
    Spent the next couple of days confined to the island and standing watch with a trusty 45 strapped to my waist. Not sure what I was going to do with it but it apparently made some one happy to have me doing that.
    We listened to all the following days events on the radio then watched them a few hours later on the TV as the tapes had to be flown in from the West Coast. I remember the drums.

  23. old gun pilot says:

    I was a student at Ole Miss and had slept late that morning because my first class was a late physics lab. Driving to campus in my VW bug with it’s AM only radio, all I could find was patriotic music. There was nothing said about the president being shot and I had no idea what was going on. As I drove by the student union some jackass was waving a giant Confederate battle flag. When I pulled into the parking lot the music stopped and the announcer said the President had died from a gunshot wound.

  24. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I was at university in Nelson, BC, where a large % of students were form NW USA. There were many tears shed in the auditorium, having the only TV for students. Next Morning there was a special Mass at the Chapel, somewhat longer than the usual 30 minutes with a speech by a USA citizen Professor [of philosophy].

  25. Tyler says:

    When we did training exercises up at Greeley my section chief told me “The weather at Greeley does whatever the f-ck it wants to.” And he was right on that note.
    When the 501st was still part of the 172nd Infantry Brigade, we’d do an exercise called “Cold Steel” up there, where it’d be us against their two leg infantry battalions (1-17 and 2-1). I remember one year, we jumped into Greeley right before a hellacious snow storm rolled in. The other two infantry battalions had apparently decided not to show up. Long story short I spent the night spooning with my gunner in full ECWS wrapped in a parachute. My coldest night until Afghanistan.
    So yes Greeley was a whole different kettle of fish than anything down in the lower 48.

  26. Tyler says:

    They had little knobs at the side you could turn to ‘depressurize’ them during airborne ops as well.

  27. optimax says:

    I was in 6th grade class when the principal announced over the PA speaker the President had been shot and then came the news he had died. We were sent home. Everyone– students, teachers and parents– was in shock. We were sent home early. Heard a policeman was shot in Dallas, Oswald caught at the theater, saw Ruby shoot Oswald on live tv and then the funeral. Those few days felt surreal. The news showed the Wanted Dead or Alive handbills with Kennedy’s picture which had been spread around Dallas. I’ve hated that city ever since.

  28. Larry Mitchell says:

    As I walked into the Grover Center locker room after phys. ed. class my freshman year at Ohio University, everybody was talking about it. Apparently there was a radio in there, and the news of the shooting had been announced – but not the death. It was a strange feeling to learn that things could go so badly so quickly. My world and my view of it was never the same again.

  29. Charles I says:

    this is what thrills me about coming here.

  30. sfauthor says:

    I have just one vivid memory of Kennedy’s assassination. I was in kindergarten in Edina, Minnesota.
    The teacher gathered us around her, sitting on the floor as we did at story time. She summarized what had happened, including the statement that Kennedy had been shot by a crazy man named Lee Harvey Oswald.
    Then she quizzed us. When she asked, “Who shot the President?” all the students, including myself, yelled out, “CRAZY MAN!” A moment later, a boy behind me calmly said, “Lee Harvey Oswald.” My head snapped around and I looked at him in awe. All the rest of us were like a mob, but this guy was cool and self-possessed.
    It was many years afterwards that I learned of Kipling’s lines, “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs . . .” It’s a goal I’ve strove for, but of course not always achieved.

  31. Allen Thomson says:

    That sounds… interesting. I wonder if USAFSS or NSA has kept records that might be FOIAed.
    On the topic: I was a freshman at the U of A in Tucson in gym class when the news came out. Went back to the dorm and continued to listen to the news. Didn’t quite believe it for some hours.

  32. oofda says:

    Yes, it was near Lake Tahoe. Certainly wasn’t the cold of central Alaska (My father spent two years in the Army Corps of Engineers working on the Al-Can Highway during the war, ‘wintering’ in White Horse.) It also is a different cold and snow; in fact, the snow in that area, near Mammoth Mt, is a unique kind, according to European ski instructors there- they loved it. We did wear layers, as you noted, with the black ‘mouse boots’. We had long underwear and sweaters issued, but not the wool shirts- don’t think the services had them any more We had hand-me-down ski gear from the Army.
    You are absolutely correct about avoiding sweating, even in the relatively warmer Pickle Meadows.
    We had bears (in summer) and mountain lions. We slept in snow caves and I recall a couple mornings, people in my company found that a mountain lion had been nosing around their snow caves. Our battalion was then the “fly-away battalion” for the Marine Corps- we would be sent if the Marines had to send a battalion anywhere quickly- the Marines had by then gotten ground combat units out of Vietnam. We also went thru the Mountain Warfare course at Pickle Meadows, which was just being re-instituted after being shut down for Vietnam. Not sure what they had in mind for us; we had recently stood down from planing to be sent to conduct a raid in North Vietnam. That’s another story.

  33. turcopolier says:

    My class lived in a bunch of quonset huts. The whole post was then powered by a nuclear reactor. you could tell how cold it was outside by how far up the walls the frost crept. The mess hall was across the street. You could tell how really cold it was by how many steps you could take before all the hairs in your nose froze. i was lying in bed on a Sunday morning when the whole hut began to shake. We went outside. A bison that must have weighed as much as my Escalade was rubbing himself on a corner of the hut. We just walked by it one the way to a nice big army breakfast. pl

  34. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I had arrived at my boyhood home in a small town in southern Minnesota on the evening of the 21st, to stow my few things, tie up my affairs, and hang out with my parents before reporting for induction for two years of service on November 29. Friday we were listening to the 12:30 pm radio news from Minneapolis, as had been the family custom as long as I could remember, when the program was interrupted with word the president had been shot. Mom, dad and I immediately went into the living room and turned on the TV to watch the events unfold. When Walter Cronkite announced that the president was dead my dad, who was a World War I Navy veteran, immediately went to the front closet, took out his American flag and took it out the front door and put it up at half mast. I’ve never forgotten what he said when he came in: “I may be a Republican but I’m an American first!”

  35. Alba Etie says:

    That is also is ingrained in my memory – I had fifth grade classmates whose parents also waved Confederate flags on their front lawns in Houston , Texas the day President Kennedy was murdered . Sadly those Confederate sentiments still exist here . I hear their echoes in Senator Cruz and the rest of the Tea Party Clown car .

  36. LeaNder says:

    I asked a friend if they had a memorial service like we had in the school I went to before we moved. I was curious since I struggled with my authoritarian headmaster there. Mind you not only the students but the teachers too were under tight control.
    They question was: was it mentioned in class, was there a memorial service. This is his answer:
    “There was no memorial service in Neustadt. Neither was it talked about in class. I only remember the black and white television images and the sadness that could be felt by all around.”

  37. turcopolier says:

    It is quite clear that Oswald shot Kennedy because Oswald was a frustrated Stalinist communist who was not right in the head. He did not kill Kennedy because Kennedy was a Catholic, Irish, Yankee or some kind of half-assed liberal. He did not kill Kennedy because he yearned for Southern independence. I have looked at most of the interesting conspiracy theories and find no proof of any of them. A few idiots dancing around with the CS flag means nothing. I am reminded of something Shelby Foote said in Lexington, Virginia after a lecture in Lee Chapel. When asked if the flags of the Confederacy could be rehabilitated as symbols of Southern identity. He said that madmen had taken them from us. pl

  38. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Shelby Foote is a learned and exceptional historian .
    I agree with both you and he – there are madmen amongst us .

  39. Abu Sinan says:

    Of course I wasnt born at the time….but I did spend two years down in King Salmon Alaska.

  40. steve g says:

    Watched a replay of Cold Case JFK last
    night on PBS Nova. The forensic findings
    from multiple sources including shooters,
    sound experts, laser technology and forensic
    pathology on head wounds was extremely
    The Carcano bullet type was most revealing as
    to the single bullet theory. Without going
    into too much detail the yaw of the bullet
    after passing through Kennedy matched the en-
    trance and exit wound profile of Connellys
    wounds including small lead framents in his
    wrist. The second shot head wound,kill shot,
    was also analyzed by never before seen x-rays
    by the head wound expert and matched the profile
    of a shot from the rear and not the grassy knoll.
    His reflex backward was caused by internal pressure
    of the bullet inside his head.
    That being said it was an amazing sequence of shots
    by Oswald or anyone with a 20 dollar rifle on a
    target moving away with a downward trajectory.
    I attended the same electronics school as Oswald
    MCRD San Diego 4 years after the shooting. Some
    wiseacre had carved into one of the desks “Lee
    Harvey Oswald sat here.” Did not know it at the
    time but it was true.

  41. Laura Wilson says:

    I think Shelby Foote missed the point. “Madmen” are not the same as vicious nihilist Southern “patriots” who work tirelessly for a return to Jim Crow and their own return to “power” over “others.”
    They are not mad but they are vicious and they have chosen their symbol and, now, we must all reject it because of their deluded implacability of hate.

  42. turcopolier says:

    Laura Wilson
    What could be more implacable than your hatred of Southern whites? pl

  43. Fred says:

    So ALL white men, white women and white children are collectively guilty? Good thing for me I was born in Gettysburg, that must make me doubly virtuous by grace of geography.

  44. Fred says:

    I believe that the Carcano was the standard Italian infantry rifle of WW2. I’m sure there were sniper varients. My father had one for awhile, before all of us kids came along.

  45. mj says:

    I still read but I don’t comment much. I was in Mr Hollister’s freshman sociology class. Someone came in a told him and he told us an basically collapsed saying “where do we go from here”? Three years later I was in basic at Ft Campbell and six months after that I was in the 7th Infantry Division just south of the Imjin wearing the OD winter gear (I always thought the valve’s in the mikckey mouse boots were for airborne troopers to inflate for support when they jumped). On November 22, 1968 I was in the Mekong Delta driving my truck when one of my best friends was killed in Operation Meade River way up north. I didn’t learn of his death until Christmas when my dad’s letter came. It changed me forever.

  46. Tyler says:

    Or, you know, it could be against puritanical control freak Northeasterners trying to impose their way of living on an alien society.
    No wonder you’re so upset. Like vampires and garlic.

  47. Larry Kart says:

    Age 21, a college student, I was walking down a street in downtown Chicago, past a department-store window in which several live TV sets happened to be on display. Seeing what so many saw at that time, I felt that the world was now moving in very slow-motion — as though an explosion had occurred at my feet but the shock wave hadn’t hit me yet. Self-protective behavior, I suppose.

  48. Bobo says:

    Madwomen also.

  49. Tyler says:

    That doesn’t surprise me at all, the cold or the encounter with the bison. We ran into a wolverine once that ruined the interior of a Humvee and made all the gear inside totally unusable due to a combination of claws and musk. I remember once all the mortar units in the battalion were sent up for a training exercise organized by the HHC Mortar Chief. We were supposed to air assault in and air assault out. It was too cold & windy for helicopters so we ended up having to get bussed out.
    Good memories of getting woken up to gun at 0200 and throwing on a pair of boots and a smoking jacket to nail a large deflection in expert time though.

  50. JohnF. says:

    Mother Gertrude? It sounds more like Mother Pass the Buck. They had us pray for JFK at St. Cyril. Donna and I stayed at school because there was no one home to come get us.

  51. elkern says:

    At school, 4th grade. I don’t remember any teachers or grown-ups telling us anything, but the news got to us somehow. My most vivid memory is one of my classmates wishing he (or we?) “could just wipe Dallas off the map”. It didn’t make sense to me; blame a city? Even at that age I was rather more contemplative than reactive.
    I do recall my mother’s sadness when I got home from school. We didn’t have a TV, so I didn’t fill my head with tragic imagery, unlike many of the 9-11 generation.

  52. Laura Wilson says:

    Hardly all…but to fail to note that the “madmen” are not mad allows the media and the rest of us to pretend the problem is not deeply un-American. I come from Southern stock…and some of my relatives are nihilist and viciously against anything they deem “not pure”….whether it is racial or political or social. They have lost the ability to reason and to discern. Not good in a republic. (To be fair a good number of my friends in the Central Valley of California have come to the same pass and to love to display the same flag.)

  53. MM says:

    The Mafia, using Cuban exiles affiliated with the Mafia that had infiltrated a secret plan to overthrow Castro working with the CIA, is who killed JFK.
    Lamar Waldron lays it out in Ultimate Sacrifice, Legacy of Secrecy and his latest work The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination.
    The cover up of the truth had been to prevent WW III with the Soviets from happening (if the secret Kennedy plan for overthrowing Castro had ever been made public) and to protect the unexposed high official in the Cuban government who agreed to overthrow Castro in a Palace Coup.
    Carlos Marcello is on FBI informant tape admitting that he had JFK killed. Santo Trafficante and Johnny Roselli admitted to their lawyers before they died of their complicity in the killing.

  54. Maureen Lang says:

    I assume you’re talking to me, JohnF.
    Actually, Dad said pretty much the same thing about our principal having the parents tell us or letting us find out on our own. I remember we did eventually have a Mass the student body attended dedicated to praying for Kennedy, his family, & the country.

  55. Stephanie says:

    My understanding is that contemporary intercepts indicate that in fact Castro was petrified that the assassination would somehow be pinned on his regime, knowing full well that if such a notion gained credence in the US there would be hell to pay.

  56. jmc5588 says:

    I was a junior at a Catholic high school in Warwick, RI. The school PA system broke into our class with a news broadcast that told of the shooting. The news announcements gave no hint of the gravity of the President’s injuries, only that he’d been taken to the hospital. Some of us went to the chapel to pray for his recovery. When we came back, we heard he had died. Classes were dismissed. Coming home, our family watched the news constantly, throughout the weekend. Got back from Sunday Mass just as Ruby shot Oswald. I’ve felt ever since that our country took a turn in the wrong direction during those mind-numbing four days. “Felt” is the proper word here. I still feel a sense of lost opportunity for our country. It was probably just an abrupt shattering of my youthful optimism, which no doubt would have gradually eroded over the succeeding years, but the memory still casts a long shadow.

  57. turcopolier says:

    IMO the New Orleans Mafia/Union Corse variant of the JFK murder theories is by far the most interesting. I just don’t think there is enough proof to make it probable. pl

  58. Charles I says:

    That is not what she wrote.

  59. Charles I says:

    He was a trained sniper, first shot was from 100 yards. According to PBS last night he August and September dry firing the rifle every afternoon over and over.

  60. Charles I says:

    No investigator could find the nexus of connections existing long before the assassination between David Ferry, Clay Bannister, Oswald, the Marcellos and other mafioso, Jack Ruby, The Dallas police dept., the FBI, the CIA, the Russians, Russia, Mexico and Cuba unremarkable. There are no coincidences whatever the evidential lacunae – of which there are way too many themselves in too many convenient instances to be detailed here.

  61. Charles I says:

    p.s. I found all the personal accounts strangely fascinating, thanks for sharing.

  62. Fred says:

    “Hardly all…”
    So is their guilt by inheritance? “viciously against anything they deem “not pure”….” Yes indeed. I think you are only making Mr. Foote’s point for him. Those people are ‘mad’; they are not making a moral stand but a political one.

  63. turcopolier says:

    charles I
    Oswald was not trained as a sniper. He was a ground radar operator. He had the marksmanship training that every soldier or marine has and he was mediocre at that. The Mannlicher-Carcano is actually quite a good rifle. I remember seeing an ad for selling them from war surplus stocks when I was sitting in a barber shop while I was in high school in Maine in the ’50s. If I had had 15 dollars I would have bought one through the mail as Oswald did. It would have been an excellent deer rifle. It was not a difficult shot. pl

  64. John Minnerath says:

    Correct; any halfway decent shooter could have made the shot Oswald did. In my high school days those rifles went for 10 to 15 bucks apiece, every hardware store in town had crates of them stacked up against a wall.
    I was living in south Louisiana during the goings on in New Orleans. There were a lot of strange things happening, especially with strange deaths among some individuals who were being called as witnesses.
    Recalling those days long ago, it seems many of us were intrigued, but there never was a solid connection to an involvement with organized crime, at least with the New Orleans families, crooked as they were.

  65. Medicine Man says:

    I’m not quite 40 yet, so this was all before my time. I’d like to second Charles I and thank everyone for the quick peek through the back window.
    I’ve never been able shake the feeling that all of the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination are just people trying to make sense of something arbitrary.

  66. euclidcreek says:

    I was a student at Euclid Central Junior High School when the announcement came over the PA that the President had been shot, but was alive. A few minutes later it was announced he was dead. I remember two girls in my class were in tears, otherwise we were silent, in shock.
    Years later I remember my disgust watching Jim Garrison joking around on the Johnny Carson, it had been announced he would name JFK’s murderers and instead it was just a cheap publicity, the death of our president was now just another trinket in the make-believe world of entertainment for the masses.

  67. turcopolier says:

    I did not think then or now that this was a massive loss of innocence moment for the US. There had been so many. What worried me was that Johnson was president. pl

  68. Charles I says:

    Thanks, picked that up somewhere this week. From what I saw on the Frontline Who is Oswald show, repeats tonight I think, the POV and bullet track computer reconstructions made that apparent to my untrained eye and opinion. Didn’t look easy but it didn’t look hard.
    There’s nothing like an older well made tool for a simple task. What were you shooting with when you were 15?

  69. elkern says:

    What worried you about Johnson? Looking back, I could imagine plenty of answers; but what concerned you then?

  70. Charles I says:

    My idea of heaven is all the U.S and Soviet archives. . . .indexed.

  71. Charles I says:

    and yet there’s Basilisk with, I trust, a real nugget about a plane bound from Mexico for a night flight to Havana for a special passenger that never came. Who collected that intel? Why is it known? What does it mean? Did anybody write down the name of the “special passenger”, and who called to say the plane should finally leave?
    etc etc, w/r/t every coincidence and bit of erased tape and missing photos. I believe in the bullet, especially after the great science shown this week on PBS, but the rest?

  72. Fred says:

    Perhaps I misread the sentiment.

  73. MM says:

    Mr Lang, I refer you to Lamar Waldron and his latest book in bookstores now…
    “The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination”
    He also wrote: “Ultimate Sacrifice” and “Legacy of Secrecy”
    He can easily be viewed on YouTube. Fascinating.

  74. turcopolier says:

    I thought and still do that Johnson was an ignorant and boorish bully who would do something stupid. My subsequent experience in VN confirmed my opinion. pl

  75. Would JFK have handled things better? If so, in which ways?

  76. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    I think Kennedy would not have decided to intervene with our own troops in a SE Asian civil war. pl

  77. Dr. K says:

    I was in the 6th grade also. Sr. Prosper was my teacher. St Matthias,Milwaukee,WI

  78. Dr. K says:

    You must be white.

  79. turcopolier says:

    Dr. K.
    “you must be white.” Who? You should be careful how you phrase your reply. pl

  80. Fred says:

    Do you really mean I’m racist since I did not agree with Ms. Wilson or do you want a complete ethnic profile? How many generations back would you like me to go?

  81. Medicine Man says:

    And uploaded to a wiki.

  82. turcopolier says:

    Dr. K.
    Now I see. Another anti-southern bigot heard from. pl

  83. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    From what I have read – Kennedy and those around him , did not want to side with the France , Great Britain and others in reasserting the colonial powers control overseas – is this true do you think , and that is why JFK wanted out of Indo-China ? .Furthermore I believe JFK was wise in not intervening in the Bay of Pigs debacle . What is your opinion on the JFK not coming to the rescue of the anti Castro forces at the Bay of Pigs .
    Finally it is hard not to see conspiracies of some sort – particularly after Robert Kennedy was shot & killed as well .

  84. Alba Etie says:

    Dr K
    We respect each other here at SST . “You must be white ” implies a good amount of disrespect toward my fellow correspondent Fred . I would kindly direct you to Professor Gates work on genealogy . Most- if not all Americans are of multiple ethnicity. Please refrain from disrespect here at SST .

  85. turcopolier says:

    “JFK was wise in not intervening in the Bay of Pigs debacle.” What are you talking about? He authorized the invasion. pl

  86. optimax says:

    Some historians say that McNamara pushed a reluctant Johnson into escalating the VN War. Errol Morris shows through recently released tapes of Kennedy and Johnson that McNamara and Kennedy planned to remove all 16,000 troops from VN by 1965 and Johnson is the one who didn’t want to be seen as the president losing a war. A short essay.
    Also recommend googling Errol Morris and Umbrella Man to see how something that seems sinister can have a benign explanation.
    Kennedy refused to authorize US planes to bomb Cuba to save the Bay of Pigs invasion from failing. From what I remember, he didn’t want our military directly involved in what would have been an act of war. I may be wrong.

  87. Fred says:

    Alba Etie,
    Thank you for the reminder. As to the specific thread Charles I pointed out I may have misinterpreted the prior comments.

  88. Fred says:

    I recall a few altercations in Key West High School not too many years later when fellow students who were children of Cuban refugees complained America did not intervene to keep Cuba free, I (and others) had the teenage audacity to point out that their parents should have fought harder. Well probably more ‘teenager’ that audacity; not too bright a moment. It was good for starting fights though. By the end of the freshman year that kind of childishness had worked itself out.

  89. Alba Etie says:

    My understanding was that he authorized the initial invasion with the understanding that there was not be direct action taken by the US armed forces. It was supposed to be a Cuban exile only effort . And that once it started going bad for the Cuban exiles JFK refused to intervene directly against the Castro
    military forces . Is this not what happened ?

  90. Ex-PFC Chuck says:

    In October of 1963 JFK issued NSAM 263, calling for the DoD to begin withdrawing all forces from Vietnam by 12/31/63. He was opposed in this by almost his entire national security team, as well as LBJ. Many of those who assert government personnel were involved ia a conspiracy to assassinate him cite NSAM 263 as his own death warrant. One of LBJ’s first acts as president was to rescind it.

  91. turcopolier says:

    While I think Johnson was solely responsible for the disastrous decision to intervene with our forces in a civil war that would inevitably divide left and right in this country, it must be said that JFK had greatly expanded our training, advisory and supply roles in SVN. In re the BoP flop, the CIA had badly overestimated the popular opposition to Castro in Cuba at the time. It was on that basis that Kennedy ordered the attempt. pl

  92. turcopolier says:

    PFC Chuck
    I don’t believe that anyone cared enough about VN in 1963 to kill him over it. pl

  93. John Minnerath says:

    Yes, an interesting “nugget” of information.
    The problem is there are so many of them around that can be woven into a tale of conspiracy.

  94. different clue says:

    I’ve been letting my memory search itself to see what presents.
    I would have been 6 years old in first grade when it happened. I don’t remember our teacher saying anything or us being let out. The older grades might have been let out and I just didn’t know. Or it could have happened and my memory just has a strange gap in it.
    I know a couple or so years later somebody played on the classroom record player a strange satirical song which I didn’t understand the point of. It was only very recently that I heard the actual Kennedy campaign song as sung by Frank Sinatra and realized that other song from long ago was a mocking parody of it. I don’t who played it
    or why.
    My only actual memory of President Kennedy was from about 4 years of age. I turned on the TV to watch Yogi Bear at its usual time and there was a man talking instead.
    ” Where is Yogi Bear? Why is that man on TV? I WANT YOGI BEAR! Why does that man have a big circle on his desk?” and so forth. Ahh childhood, I guess.

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