22 November 1963.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963).
Due to a quirk in the calendar, November 1963 is the same as in 2013. So that means, like in this year, November 22nd was a Friday. Thursday the next week would be Thanksgiving, a time of family, food and home warmth. Not a terrible day of mourning after a national tragedy.
November 1963 November 2013 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
And make no mistake, no matter your politics, the assassination of a U.S. President, whether by lone nutcase or vast conspiracy, is a terrible thing. Before that date, I was vaguely aware that such things happened, even though I was five. The killing of Lincoln was well known.
Assassination attempts and plots on Presidents of the United States have been numerous: more than 20 attempts to kill sitting and former presidents, as well as the Presidents-elect, are known. Four sitting presidents have been killed: Abraham Lincoln (the 16th President), James A. Garfield (the 20th President), William McKinley (the 25th President) and John F. Kennedy (the 35th President). Two presidents were injured in attempted assassinations: former President Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th President), and President Ronald Reagan (the 40th President).Medina NY is halfway between Buffalo and Rochester -- we were in the half of Medina residents that shopped in Buffalo. I knew about McKinley from an early age.
The assassination of William McKinley took place at 4:07 p.m. on Friday, September 6, 1901, at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. McKinley, attending the Pan-American Exposition, was shot twice in the abdomen at close range by Leon Czolgosz, a self-proclaimed anarchist, who was armed with a .32 caliber revolver. The first bullet ricocheted off either a bullet-proof button or an award medal on McKinley's jacket and lodged in his sleeve but the second shot pierced his stomach. McKinley died eight days later, on September 14, 1901, at 2:15 a.m. because the doctors forgot to drain his wound of infections before sewing the wound shut.Under failed attempts at assassination, John Kennedy was the target of an attempt in Chicago between O'Hare and Soldier Field just twenty days before he was killed in Dallas.
Back on Friday 17 July 2009, my late sister Wendy commented on my blog about the death of Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) (DW), a man forever locked in memory with JFK:
I remember seeing Cronkite crying the day Kennedy was shot. I would have just turned 8 the week before. I was home sick from school, sitting on the couch helping my mother fold laundry and watching a game show.I always think of Walter as an old man, but do the math. Cronkite was a year older than Kennedy, who was just two years older than my father. Kennedy was only 46 when he died. By comparison I'm nine years older. Who's old now?
Don't have a clue what game show it was.
But I remember asking my mother why Walter Cronkite was crying. I'm not sure she ever answered, because as soon as we heard the newsstory, she got up and went to call my dad at work.
There's been a bunch of coverage, documentaries and discussions about JFK, this being the fiftieth anniversary of his death -- more years dead than he lived. Much less people saying terrible things about Kennedy than back during the 60s. And much is made of the Where Were You When You Heard The News? Though there are probably more who are too young to answer that question at all these days, just as our students don't know about Vietnam, Watergate, Challenger, etc. on a first name basis.
We know too much and too little about the assassination of President Kennedy. We don't know all the truth, the waters are too muddied and we probably never will. Eventually this event will simply be a part of history. For now, there are many who still have a hole in their hearts.