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Where were you 50 years ago?

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John W. Eyster
November 22, 2013

Where were YOU when YOU heard the report that President Kennedy had been assassinated?

One of the most interesting features among the myriads of articles, columns, editorials on this 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is the comments by readers, “Why we still remember where we were when Kennedy was assassinated”

Perhaps YOU will post a comment with this blog telling readers about where you were when YOU heard the report that President Kennedy had been assassinated.  I hope so.  I will be reading.

I myself was in graduate school on the campus of THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY in Washington, DC.  President Kennedy had delivered the commencement address at The American University on June 10, 1963.  That address was titled by The White House, “A Strategy of Peace.”  President Kennedy announced early agreement to negotiations “toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty.”  Those negotiations resulted in the “Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty” which was ratified by our US Senate and went into effect on October 10, 1963 BEFORE President Kennedy was assassinated.

I was in the stacks of the library when someone ran through announcing, “The President has been shot!”  I joined others watching the TV reports.  I watched when Walter Cronkite announced the bulletin he received when reporting news to WE THE PEOPLE of the US, “We just have a report from our reporter Dan Rather that he has confirmed that President Kennedy is dead.  There is still no official confirmation of this, however.  It's a report from our correspondent Dan Rather in Dallas, TX.” And then came the bulletin, “Flash from Dallas, TX, the flash apparently official: President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time.”

Vice-president Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as US President aboard the presidential plane by Federal Judge Sarah Hughes within a couple hours of President Kennedy's death.  That started a very intense long weekend.  I joined the hundreds of thousands of my fellow Americans to pay honor as we walked by the guarded casket with President Kennedy lying in state.  Monday, the 25th of November 1963 I joined most Americans watching the State Funeral of President Kennedy with the burial at Arlington National Cemetery.  And the lighting of the ETERNAL FLAME.

For me, President John F. Kennedy was a major influence on my commitment to democracy/civics education.  I am among Americans inspired and challenged by President Kennedy's INAUGURAL ADDRESS which had many inspiring statements. The capstone statement, “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

You will find many meaningful articles, editorials, OpEd columns and TV programs as we observe the 50th anniversary of the ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY.  I want to call to your attention three from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

'The whole world we knew was about to change'

The Editorial helps us reflect on the meaning of President Kennedy for our nation, “JFK's assassination still marks the country 50 years later.”

Ted Kennedy, Jr. is the author of a very meaningful OpEd column, “Remember my Uncle Jack's legacy of compassion.”

Please share YOUR COMMENT as you reflect on this 50th anniversary of the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.



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