The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Z_CNHI News Service

November 18, 2013

50 years can't fade a day to remember

For the record — and to ease the burden of research for my future biographers — I was eating a tuna fish sandwich … on white bread … with lettuce and mayo.

I don’t remember what I had for lunch last Wednesday or Thursday, but I do recall what I was doing and what I was eating on Nov. 22, 1963, when I learned that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

It’s easy to remember for several reasons, not the least of which was that in all my 13 years, I had never seen my mother react the way she did on that Friday afternoon in our split-level house in Plainview, Long Island.

The then-41-year-old woman screamed, “WHAT?!!” and threw herself violently onto her knees right in front of the big black-and-white television set in our living room. She didn’t want to believe what she was hearing: Our gallant, vibrant, young president had been murdered.

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of that horrible day that in many ways stole the innocence of a generation that hadn’t — like its predecessor — been hardened by the Depression and World War II. That generation would soon learn more than it wanted to know about a place called Vietnam and bear witness to a decade of strife and upheaval.

Amid the 1960s tensions of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, we had the television images of civil rights marchers being beaten in Alabama, the horrifying Associated Press photo of South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a suspected Viet Cong officer in the head during the Tet Offensive, and the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

On the other hand, we had the Beatles, teenyboppers and a couple of guys who landed on the moon.

And, for me, at least, all the turmoil began on Nov. 22, 1963, when a beloved president died in Dallas, Texas.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
E-edition
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
NDN Video
Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1 WATCH: Women Fight To Marry Prince Harry! Jenny McCarthy Engaged to "New Kid" Kate and Will Land in Oz O’Reilly Launches Preemptive Strike Against CBS Pixar Unveils Easter Eggs From its Biggest Movies Baby Sloths Squeak for Their Cuddle Partners in Adorable Video
Must Read