Tragedy Unites

origin_43182366If you were alive and at least 4 or 5 years of age on November 22, 1963 it is very likely that you remember where you were when you heard that John F. Kennedy was shot. Quite possibly there are many details imprinted on your memory and that time in history.

I was walking down the hallway at my elementary school when our school custodian, Raymond Raymond, told me the news. He told me that we would all be leaving school early. I don’t remember much of the rest of the day.

The nation mourned as the story unfolded and people (at least in our house) seemed glued to television sets. I have no recollection of my parents’ reaction but I remember being scared as my Grandma cried and said what a terrible thing had happened.

I think the assassination of the President united people because of the senselessness of the act. Just as 9/11 is etched in our brains as a horrible act of cowardice and violence it also is senseless.

Political or philosophical differences are set aside, at least temporarily.

Tragedy (especially when it is televised) makes it appear that much more real. We may almost feel like we are there, experiencing the emotions of fear or sorrow. Watching the news reports we become familiar with scenes as they are played repeatedly.

The collective response to a national or local tragedy seems to be a circling of the wagons. Presenting a united front as a show of support or an appearance of strength happens automatically.

Despite the pain and sorrow the pulling together in those circumstances gives hope and personifies resilience.

As a side note, I just found out this summer that my sister has no memory of the event or aftermath. There is a very good reason for that. She was in the hospital having her tonsils out which is also why my parents weren’t around and I was with Gram.

If you are old enough to remember the assassination of John F.Kennedy what memory do you have of that day?

photo credit: cobalt123 via photopin cc


  1. Jill says:

    I was in my upstairs school classroom. I was afraid we were going to war with Russia because of all of our drills. Our principal called us all out into the hallways and staircases. Then he told the entire school at one time. Our tv was on when I got home and we watched together as a family.
    Since it was the day for my embroidery lesson, my mom made me go ahead to the little garage house across the alley and have my embroidery lesson to get my mind off of the tragedy.

    • Cindi says:

      Jill, I remember those drills! As if hiding under a desk during a nuclear attack was going to do any good, right?

      When I read your comment about your principal telling all of you at once I was struck again by how different our world has become. When something, anything, happens nowadays it is tweeted, shared on facebook, emailed…whatever-instantly…and with pictures

      Embroidery lessons? What? I need to hear more about this!

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