With Memories Frozen, A Remembrance for JFK

Friday, November 22, 2013

Picture taken on June 26, 1963 shows then US President John F Kennedy (L) giving a speech at the Schoeneberg city hall in Berlin. (DPA/AFP/Getty)

November 22, 1963 is a haunting day for many. 

Down a long 50 year corridor, November 22, 1963 produced a collective national moment like none before: A nation's breath stopped 50 years ago today when it was announced that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. 

For many, that day produces memories frozen in time. Today The Takeaway remembers John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States who served just over 1,000 days in office before he was assassinated in November 1963.


T.J. Raphael

Comments [12]

E.B. Stern from New York City

I was working directly across the street from the United Nations, and all of sudden we saw through our office windows the U.N. flags being lowered and people streaming out of the buildings. I can still see it all in my mind's-eye. Then, someone in the office received a phone call (yes! no cellphones then!) saying what had happened, and that person screamed out the news for all of us to hear.

Nov. 23 2013 12:25 PM
Barbara Kiszonas from New Jersey

I was a freshman in high school. That day I was at late period lunch, just around 1:00. One of my table mates just came back from the candy counter and told us the news. She said: they're saying that the president's been shot. We couldn't understand it--what does that mean, we asked. We had only that fragment of news that one of the "cafeteria ladies" had heard on a transistor radio. My next class was English composition, where the death of the president was confirmed. I remember sitting at my desk, looking out the window at the barren tree branches on a cold gray Chicago afternoon and silently weeping. It felt like the world was caving in.

Nov. 22 2013 03:31 PM
Diane Chambers from Baltimore, MD

I was three years old back then... I saw my mother crying and asked" What's wrong, Mommy?" She replied" You don't understand, child, the President has been shot! The President is dead!" I remember hearing her wail and cry... My older brother, who was in school at the time, grew -up to write: " Head Shot; The Science a Behind the JFK Assassination" by Dr.G.Paul Chambers( Prometheus ) because he was so impacted by the tragedy and wanted to know what really happened...
I really WAS too young to understand at the time but I will always remember my mother's reaction which was actually typical of many adults in America... Our lives forever changed!

Nov. 22 2013 02:50 PM
Diane Chambers from Baltimore

Check out " Head Shot: The Science behind the JFK Assasination" by physicist Dr.G.Paul Chambers for the REAL story! This book, published by Prometheus, is available now at Amazon.com.

Nov. 22 2013 02:41 PM
Tamara Sanders from Bancroft, Michigan

I was interested that at age 6, you remember the event so well. I was just turned 5, and my brother was almost 4, and my mother, who says she remembers it like yesterday, says she had just put us to bed for naps, when a neighbor came over and told her to turn on the TV, and the sat and watched the news. I wonder if I had not been asleep, would I have a memory of it. As it is, I am not sure I even knew who the President was. My first memory of a news event is the Gemini space launches. I have never thought so much about Kennedy up until this anniversary coverage, and it has been very interesting.

Nov. 22 2013 01:05 PM
Nancy Wilson from Milford, NJ

My memories of JFK's assassination are now intertwined with my memories of my father's death 2 years ago on the same date.

In 1963, I was a 7 year old second grader. I remember coming home from school, excited to have an article in the school newspaper that I wanted to share with my mother. I walked into the house to find her crying in front of the TV. My first thought was that there was a rocket launch and something had gone wrong. In my experience, rocket launches were the only thing that pre-empted television shows. As the weekend went on, I remember being scared about what would happen next, and my mother sitting me down and reassuring me, that now we had a new president, Lyndon Johnson. In my young mind, President Kennedy was the only president I had known.

Fast forward to 2011, the evening my father passed away. I have the intense memory of my sister calling with the news. It was very sudden. We had seen him two days before he passed and said, see you on Saturday, for the family Thanksgiving dinner. He died on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I called my own adult daughter to tell her, and I bursted into tears.

Nov. 22 2013 12:47 PM
Gayle Hammond from Fort Worth Texas

This was an important time for me. My family lived in New York and I was in 7th grade social studies class- my teacher heard the news and left our room crying.. I always loved history and my birthday was Nov 25.. the day of the President's funeral. We spent that day watching all the events.. it was momentous. I went on to become a high school history instructor.. I moved to Ft. Worth, Tx and have taken many classes of students to Dealey Plaza and the 6th Floor Museum.. For me, it was a significant event in my life, then and now.

Nov. 22 2013 12:23 PM
Liz Kleintop from Bethlehem, PA

I was eight years old in November 1963, in third grade. When my teacher found out about the President's assassination she told us to go home to our parents, there was going to be a war. What a thing to tell 8 year olds!

Nov. 22 2013 12:10 PM
Richard Spiegel from Staten Island, NY

I was attending a performance of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World at Princeton University. It was a field trip arranged for high school seniors. The announcement was made at the end of the play. Sobs throughout the theater. The bus trip home to Long Island lasted 2 hours during which we consoled each other and wondered how Lyndon Johnson might change our world.

Nov. 22 2013 10:43 AM
paula winters from florida

11/22/13 VERY well done today, mr . hockenberry. ...and when jackie died i cried my eyes out...seemed like the end of an era...thought i was done...am still crying today.

Nov. 22 2013 10:07 AM
Alice Twombly from Englewood, NJ

I was a first year teacher at La Follette HS in Madison, Wisconsin, on Nov 22, 1963. I was teaching 9th grade Civics at 1:00 and we were talking about the election of JFK. I was discussing the fact that there had been anti-Catholic prejudice against Kennedy which surprised the students, many of whom were Catholic or Lutheran. Then a student asked how long it would take to spread a rumor around the country, such as whether or not there was a nuclear bomb. I speculated in the pre-internet age, that it might take 15 minutes. At that moment, the period ended and a student burst in the classroom shouting that Kennedy had been assassinated! I said, don't spread rumors, and then everyone came bursting in to the classroom, the school PA started broadcasting Walter Cronkhite on the radio, and there was a hush unlike that I've ever heard in a school. My old students told me recently at a class reunion, that they remembered I put down my head on my desk and cried and they had never seen a teacher cry before. I drove home from school on a gray, rainy, damp November bleak day. Never far from my mind.

Nov. 22 2013 09:39 AM
Lynn Wolf from Davie, Florida

I was a junior in high school , sitting in History class, when the PA system crackled on with the unbelievable words about President Kennedy's assassination. IIt took quite a while for me to fully absorb this tragedy. I honestly feel that this event altered the way I felt about the world for the rest of my life.

Nov. 22 2013 09:38 AM

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