51 years. Can you believe it? Where were you when you heard and what do you believe? I've read many books over the years. Some totally laughable but Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History" is my bible on the tragedy. Oswald in the book depository with a $12 rifle.
I was a new 2nd Lt in the Air Force and had been at Little Rock AFB since July. I had just had lunch in the Officers' Club with some friends and was on my way through the lobby to the front door when a woman rushed through the door crying and saying, "I knew he should never have gone to Dallas." We all went back to our offices and turned on radios.
In Wildflicken Germany which is in the Fulda Gap.Back then To move a force the size of a Divison from East to West anywhere in Northern Eroupe it had to go through the Fulda Gap!!!! Yes we went on Alert and hauled ass to the field for several day's! Scared 18 year old Bud.
I was a student at Pepperdine. This was the old Pepperdine College at 79th and Vermont, before the move to Malibu and becoming a big fancy university. On Fridays chapel was mandatory. After the 10:00 AM service I headed for for the campus radio station in the backstage end of the auditorium building. My buddy Herb Schmidt and I were volunteers at the station. As I was crossing the stage somebody, I don't remember who, came through the door from the station and said Kennedy had been shot. I imagined it was a non-fatal wound.
If you're old enough you remember the sound of the teletype machine. That day the teletype at KWAV clattered away with one dispatch after another in a steady stream. Then suddenly the clatter stopped for a few seconds and you heard only the whirring motor of the idle machine. After some seconds it advanced a few inches of blank paper, typed a row of asterisks then typed thirteen letters:
Another row of asterisks, a few more inches of blank paper, and then more clattering of news dispatches.
Herb and I spent the rest of the day interviewing mayor Sam Yorty, supervisor Kenny Hahn, and other local officials for their comments. Station manager Lee Larsen phoned KABC and got clearance to carry their news feed from ABC, and we inserted our short pieces from time to time. I don't recall what time we left the station, but it was late that night.
A personal lesson I learned from that day was never lend anybody the master tape.
I was watching the parade on a 19" black and white TV in my 2nd grade elementary school class room. Our class was about 30 kids but there were only a few TV's in the school so there were perhaps 90 kids in the room.
When Walter Cronkite announced that Kennedy had been shot the teacher immediately turned off the TV. Shortly afterwards we were sent home from school early. There was a lot of talk by my parents about whether there would be an attack by the Russians after Oswald was caught.
I was at work as a line assigner for Pacific Telephone, when one of the ladies who worked there answered the phone and began crying. She told us the president had been shot. For a day or two we didn't know the seriousness of the injury. Then it was announced that he was dead.
I have often wondered just who and what was behind the killing. It seems odd that it happened in Dallas, and LBJ a Texan would become the president after him. Then, maybe it was Richard Nixon, who lost to him? Or was it a Russian plot because of how he had handled the Cuban missle crisis? Was Oswald a lone gunman who was mentally unstable, or was he hired to do the job? I guess we'll never know. It is odd how Oswald was killed before he could testify? Why was the Warren report hidden from the people?
There was a lot of unrest in those days and many assassinations of others including his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King, and unrest in the cities following those days.
I wonder what would have been the outcome of Viet Nam if he had lived? We can't turn back the clock even though many movies and TV programs have been made about time machines.
I was in Mr. Brunjes' 4th grade class when someone knocked at the door. We were sent home about a half-hour later, and my mom was watching the TV--having the TV on during the day, AND having a signal broadcast was unusual then--usually just a test pattern until about 3 pm.
I remember everyone being worried that the Russians would use the time to mount an attack on US. I also remember watching the funeral procession using the caisson that was used for Lincoln. Even back then I was a history nut and was most impressed with the historical significance. Think I was watching TV when Oswald was shot, or maybe they showed it on the evening news. Too long ago, but it was a turning point in US society, like 9-11 was.
No particular comment on the JFK killing. We all know the drill and the various questions/stories
that have been put forward.
What I do think is that JFK was our first "celebrity" to hold the golden key to the crapper, and a
turning point in how Americans see public office and how the electoral process is manipulated by
those far more powerful than the President or his minions. Prior to JFK, Presidents were .... can I
say "presidential" and took the office seriously. While JFK was a minor version of what we see
today, it seems he was the first U.S. President to be playing for a "new cause" that did not exist
before he was "elected".
I was watching TV that morning when the usual programming was interrupted to cover Cronkite
(or was it Huntley and Brinkley ?) scrambling with their news feeds on the developing story.
I was sitting on the floor of Allis Chalmers manufacturing company in Springfield, IL eating my brown bag lunch. I worked on the assembly line though it was a large line since I was assembling their Model D road grader and my job was to build the "seat" assembly. I was a member of the union since it was a closed shop and I had quit college and was full time employed there. I learned a lot while I worked there but most of what I learned was how NOT to run a company. Everybody there had a chip on their shoulder. Allis Chalmers had a government contract with Turkey which when filled ended the work of almost the whole factory. They were bought out by Fiat some time after I left and eventually the whole operation folded up - not surprising. There is a huge shopping mall and parking lot on the site where they stood. The PA announcement said the president had been shot and within an hour or so everyone who wanted to go home was allowed to leave. Most left. The final announcement came through later on. Dark days but mostly what I knew about JFK turned out to be untrue since like most young people I was a dreamer and didn't seek real truth. I operated on feelings rather than facts during that time. He didn't deserve to be shot.
3rd Period Metal Shop
Patrick Henry Junior High
Granada Hills, California
I was sitting in the middle of a vacant lot where I was getting ready to build a house. Had my car radio on and heard it.
I can't remember much about second grade other than they thought I had a speech impediment and wanted to put me in a special class. During a meeting with my parents, it was explained we just moved from Texas and the special class was put to rest. How stupid Ohio schools were back then.
In any case, I was in 8th grade science class (back in Texas) when the announcement came over the class room intercom. They played a radio broadcast for a while then let everyone go home early.
3rd period band practice at Santa Monica High School. At lunch they turned on the news feed. I still remember how quiet all the kids were. Sad day.
The shock went right around the world that day.
I was a 12 year old kid in high school, when my little (7 yo) sister burst into the room and loudly announced "Bob Menzies has been shot". She knew it was a leader, but just got the wrong one.
It was my first semester at the UofA. A classmate and I had just gone out for burgers and fries, then returned to campus to our art classroom. The instructor was the only one there, and he gave us the news. We wandered away, and I don't remember anything else about that day.
I was in 4th grade at Carlthorpe Elementary school in Santa Monica, CA. My brother also went there and was in the 6th grade. The 5th and 6th grades got to go into the old house that served as the office and kindergarten and watch the only TV at the school. The rest of the day is a blur but I do remember being glued to the TV for the state funeral and watching the riderless horse with the boots backwards in the stirrups go by.
I was in one of the last classes that used the old Pepperdine campus on Vermont. This was 1980. It was still a neat historic place, just in a really crumby neighborhood.
I remember being a 10th grader in high school and being told around 10:30 or so that Kennedy had been shot.
All the schools in central Texas were let out for 2-3 days I think.
Everybody was really worried we were going to be attacked, invaded or something similar.
A while later Ruby shot Oswald and people were really worried and confused.
I do remember watching our black and white TV and seeing it on live TV. I thought WOW something was really amiss.
A year or two later my father who happened to like collecting guns bought the same type of rifle that Oswald used at the local Army surplus store or it might have been from Sears. Cant remember. It turned out it was a rifle version. Oswalds was a carbine.
It was a little shorter than the rifle version.
Caliber was 6.5 Carnaco. I still have it.
In those days you could buy surplus military rifles that were still in their crates. Usually they were packed with cosmoline.
Prices were anywhere from 12 to 30 dollars.
If you wanted a nice 03-A3 springfield 30.06 they could be had for a 'high price' in the 50-60 dollar range. It was an amazing time.
Was this event just pure luck on Oswalds part. Or something else.
You pretend to be the shooter. Now pick any city in the U.S.
Now go get a job where you can have access to all the upper floors. Ok, you are doing great. Now how many years do you want to wait for an important parade to go by your window???
Oswald waited only a few weeks. Whether he was alone or not, what are the chances he would get that job, be at the right window, at that moment, as someone important would drive by very slowly.
6th grade Edna I Murphy Elementary School. They announced he'd been shot, then later came back and said he was dead. I found very little comfort knowing LBJ was going to be our President.
The other night on the History channel Brad Metzlers show "Americas lost history" reported that Kennedy's brain disappeared years ago.
In grade 4 at Southside Public School,Woodstock,Ontario.Our principal Earl Steinback came into our class,and said I have some sad news,the President of the United States has been assinated.I remember the weather was a cloudy cool day.Everyone's parents were concerned about what might happen next.
Sitting in a car with a bunch of guys waiting to go to a college class at the New Bedford Institute of Technology.
The main questions were -
Who did it? Were the Russians involved? and Are we going to go to war?
My ship was in dry dock in Curtis Bay, MD and I was driving home to PA on a 4 day pass in my 55 Ford Customline (my first car) and I heard it on the radio. I remember wondering if I should have turned around and probably would have if we weren't in dry dock. I also had a niece born that same day and we never forget her birthday.
I was in 9th grade algebra class in Pt Pleasant Beach High School when Scotty Wolfesberger ran into the class room to announce that the president had been shot! My recollection is that it was just after the lunch hour.
Big questions were if we would play the football game that weekend and if the Russians were going to invade? Yes, those were the issues.
I had a 1930 Model A coupe I was working on at home.
Interesting to me that so many of you were so young. I was in college at the time and laughed with disbelief when a fellow student told me the news. More interesting is that we all remember the day and what we were doing when we heard the news so long ago.
I also remember the day President Roosevelt died and the day my grandfather died. I remember the day each of our 5 children were born too. We tend to keep in memory important events and let go of the others. It might be very hard to keep all events of every day in memory, however, there are some who do!
I had a HS history teacher that gave all his lectures as if he were there in person. He had an
incredible knack for details. Most would start out: It was December the 8th, 1778, a Monday ...
we would often go look up his details and he was always spot on. He was a great teacher.
One of a handful that really made school interesting.
I was in 6th grade, teacher rolled in a TV and 6th and 5thgrade combined to watch what was going on. Got sent home. No school till after TG
It was a year and a half before I was even born! So, I don't remember much.
I was working at Pillsbury in Wellsburg, WV. I also got my DRAFT NOTICE that day.
Friday Evening at about 6 PM at Moehringen, Germany, a southern boy came into the room, jumped up on roommate Dennis's foot locker and shouted out, "Yea Kennedy has been shot" Dennis calmly stood up and punched the guy so hard he went right back out into the hallway on his ass.
Later that idiot went to West Point. Also easy to remember date because my sister Pat died that same weekend not knowing JFK who was her hero
You say you wondered if things would have been different had JFK lived. It was rumored that he had been considering bringing the troops home from there but LBJ upped the ante. So we heard
in the military gossip line
I was only 3 years old & I remember ....
EVERYONE was sad and crying a lot - for a long time
4th grade Mrs Lamb's class Belle Whitter elementary Dad picked me up in his Police Car (Florida State Trooper) First time I remember seeing my Dad visibly upset!
The assassination was on Friday the twenty-second. On Sunday the twenty-fourth, my radio pard Herb turned 21. In our youthful infatuation with beer, our plan was to celebrate his birthday by bar hopping, stopping for a beer at each joint between my place and his. We may have been the only customers in the first place that Sunday morning. It was Clyde's Corner in Lomita, an old fashioned beer joint with a carved walnut bar and a big mirror. The TV was on and we watched this happen:
That ended our bar-hopping plan. We stayed right there and watched the TV coverage.
I exactly know, I was walking by the cafeteria in
high school enroute to drafting class when it came
over the loud speaker, and pricipal said return
to home room for dissmissal "I have spoken" he
always said that.