Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine ...

Picture of President Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was Friday, November 22, 1963 and as a family we were still mourning the death of our dear grandmother, Alberta “Suey” Walker.  It was a very strange time to be a kid.  Family members, associates and childhood friends were dying and coping was extremely difficult.  You were allowed your one good cry and after that “your life” goes on.

So this Friday was no different than any other Friday to me. It was the last day of the week and there was the weekend. Thanksgiving was approaching and Christmas was not too far away.  I think I had a fried egg sandwich for lunch. I just loved the way my locker smelled on the day of and a few days after I had a fried egg sandwich for lunch.  I was the happiest kid in America!

I was coming out of the lunchroom and heading to my next class when a friend walked up to me and told me that President Kennedy had been shot.  I got to my classroom where we were again told that our president had been shot and school had been dismissed for the day.  We should head home immediately.  I, like many of us, was stunned!  Was this the sign of the apocalypse…World War III…Armageddon?  Yes, Armageddon…that’s it…God was punishing us!  If only I had stayed awake in my bible-studies with the Jehovah Witnesses maybe I would have a chance?

My friends and I left school running.  We fully expected to see people marching with guns attacking each other.  The revolution was on.  None of us took a direct route.  We hid behind trees, under bushes…I even crawled a few feet on my belly, army-style, to prevent capture, torture or death.  My mind was twisted…so very twisted. I was so afraid. The first president that I was old enough to relate to was gone…shot dead in Dallas.  If it could happen to our leader, who was going to save and protect me?  Suddenly, I was that little kid that whenever he was troubled he would just climb up on grandma’s lap.  Grandma’s gone, I told myself, now what am I going to do?

When I got home, the sky was becoming increasingly darker.  Even with the lights on, the house seemed cold and dank.  The television was on and they kept showing the assassination over and over again.  There were no commercial breaks.  We all spoke just above a whisper and crept around.  It was just as if a family member had died.  Didn’t we just go through this?  I’m still hurting from losing my grandmother and now this?  Come on man, GET OFF MY CASE!

Nothing was normal from that point on and in a way hasn’t been normal since.  And all it took was one man…with one rifle…8 seconds…BAMclick, click, clickBAMclick, click, clickBAMclick, click, click and it was over.

I think it rained for several days.  It felt like “the lord was crying” and we were drowning in his tears.  Living, even for a 13 year old, became more of a challenge.  We lost our sense of security on that day, as people, as a nation.  Will we ever feel that secure ever again?

Tell me, where were you the day JFK was assassinated?