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Remembering the Assassination of President Kennedy

We’re going to hear a lot this month as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Kennedy comes up on the 22nd.

I’ve heard that students today aren’t taught much about it, and some don’t think it’s relevant. But it seems to me no one who was around that Friday can ever forget it.

I was in the 7th grade, in my second-floor classroom in Montrose, in a building that’s gone now.

There was a knock at the door, and one of my cousins gave my teacher a breathless message. My teacher turned to face us students, ashen-faced, and said in words I’ll never forget: “The President has been shot and died.”

OK, it was grammatically incorrect, but cut the teacher a break. We were stunned, and I, the future news guy wanting to know more, asked where it had happened. “Texas,” somebody said.

Then there were the rumors: Texas Governor John Connally, riding with the Kennedys, was also killed(He was not). vice President Lyndon Johnson, next in line to be President, had suffered a heart attack (He had not).

I’ll write more another time about the wall-to-wall news coverage that followed on all television networks, all the way through interment at Arlington National Cemetery.

But I’ll leave you with this for now: Every time I hear “Hail to the Chief” now, I think of President Kennedy’s funeral, 50 years ago this month.

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