Friday’s column (read it here) is made up of responses from readers about where they were on Nov. 22, 1963, when they heard about President Kennedy’s death. The responses were so many and often so lengthy, some had to be left out and most had to be truncated, sometimes severely. Because space on the Internet is infinite, below is every response I received, in full. Feel free to share your own memory, or your reaction to others’, in the comments section. — DA
I was in kindergarten at First Lutheran in Pomona. We were all taken down to the principal’s office, or outside the principal’s office. She had a television that could be seen from the hallway. Of course, at 5 years old, I didn’t understand much of it. I remember my principal, Mrs. Kirby, in tears. My mother picked me up. She was so distraught, crying. We just watched the television coverage of it on Channel 2 throughout the afternoon and evening.
As VP of manufacturing of a Massachusetts carpet mill I was in the US Rubber Company plant in Connecticut monitoring a trial of applying their rubber to one of our commercial carpets. The noise from the machinery running in this plant was overwhelming. Just prior to our trial run the din began receding slowly until there was complete silence. The US Rubber people with me were as baffled as I was until we were told that word had spread though the plant that President Kennedy had been shot. Without any instructions or permission the workers had independently shut off their machinery, picked up their lunch pails and left the plant for home, many in tears as I was. I had spent some memorable time with JFK on three occasions when he was the senator from Massachusetts. It was a long sad drive back to Massachusetts and it still is 50 years later.
Ralph F. Langley
My 20th birthday, Nov. 22, 1963. My husband Larry was stationed at Otis Air Force Base, Cape Cod. Mass. The Kennedys came many times to the family compound in Hyannis Port, about 30 miles from Otis. I was parked many times in view.
I was a young mother with a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old. Larry was at work, just a normal Friday. I turned on the black and white TV at 1 p.m. EST to watch “As the World Turns.” About 40 minutes later there was a Special Bulletin that the president had been shot in Dallas.
Later Walter Cronkite announced that John F. Kennedy had passed away. We were glued to that little TV for many days. It is a sad memory.
After the funeral Jackie, Caroline and John John came to Otis on a private plane, no entourage. They walked through the flight line where Larry was working. He saw them quite close. They were on their way to Hyannis Port.
I am now 70 and it is a vivid memory for us both.