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Tell us when you heard the report that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated

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Douglas Caddy tells when he heard:

     Upon completing my six months of active duty in the Army at the end of 1961 under a program that required me to serve an additional five and a half years in the reserves after which I received my Honorable Discharge, I enrolled in the New York University School of Law in 1962 in the evening division. During the day I worked in the Manhattan office of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller on the staff of Lieutenant-Governor Malcolm Wilson who was a conservative Republican while Rockefeller was a liberal one. The office was located at 22 West 55th Street and was a five-story townhouse privately owned by the governor. Only about forty people worked in the building as it was considered to be the inner sanctum of the Rockefeller political machine. The most interesting event of my employment there occurred on November 22, 1963, when I received a phone call shortly after noon from a close friend, John Holmes, who worked on Wall Street. He breathlessly told me that President Kennedy had just been assassinated in Dallas and then hung up. I walked to Lt.-Gov. Wilson’s office that was nearby and informed him of the call. He ordered me to go to the press office on the first floor and check it out.


     I rode the small elevator down to the first floor and entered the press office. Only the receptionist was there. Carl Spad, the governor’s press secretary, was at lunch. I said to the receptionist, “President Kennedy has just been assassinated.” She looked at me as if I were crazy, saying, “what, what are you talking about?” and then pointed to a small closet. I opened its door and inside was a Telex machine with its alarm bells endlessly ringing as it printed out news of the assassination. At that point the receptionist telephoned Spad to return pronto. I left the press office and walked throughout the townhouse spreading the news. On one floor I walked into a large conference room where about twenty-five men were seated around a long conference table deep in discussion about something important. Everything stopped as I entered, and all looked quizzically at me. Ashen faced I announced, “President Kennedy has just been assassinated in Dallas.” No one said a word or even moved. They just sat frozen and transfixed as each absorbed the shocking news. Getting no response, I turned and left the room. The next day Hugh Morrow, the governor’s speech writer, came to see me on the fifth floor. He asked, “How did you learn of the news of the assassination before anyone else did?”  I gave him a vague reply, not wanting to disclose that a fellow evening law school student had beaten the vaunted Rockefeller Intelligence operation with news of the assassination.


     The next evening, I attended a long-scheduled Republican Party dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria. I was seated next to a man who would soon be elevated to the New York Supreme Court. We talked about the assassination, and he ominously told me, “I fear that fellow Oswald will be killed by those who assassinated the President. He knows too much.” My mind tried to process his shocking prediction. When the dinner was over, I returned to where I lived while in law school. It was in a co-op (akin to today’s condominium) at 520 E. 72 St. It had a spectacular view of the New York skyline. Its owner was Alice Widener, a syndicated newspaper columnist. She was the widow of Nicholas Berezowsky, a talented musician who fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution by working his way to the border playing the piano in whore houses.  Once in America he became a famous orchestra conductor. Alice, posing as the widow of Nicholas, at the urging of the FBI joined the Communists Party, USA where she made regular donations of money. By doing this over a period of time she was eventually admitted to the innermost meetings of the party’s leaders and afterwards she filed reports with the FBI. She visited J. Edgar Hoover in Washington when she thought she had some especially important to report. When I got home from the dinner, I told her what the judge-to-be had told me about Oswald likely being killed. She responded, “That would never happen in Dallas but certainly would in New York City.” Both she and I were shocked the next day when we witnessed on television Oswald being shot and killed while being escorted by the Dallas Police. [end]

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Fascinating as always.

I was 12 and participating in an outdoor physical education class at our Pacific Grove, California middle school.

It was a sunny but very cool mid-morning when a fellow student by the name of John Norman ran to our class on the basketball courts from the main school buildings across the street.

He ran up to our teachers and told them the news. He then turned and shouted to us kids..."the presidents been shot!"

We were immediately told to go back to the gym and get dressed ( no showers ) and return to our home rooms.

Everybody...students and teachers were in shock. A few lady teachers were crying.

Soon enough we were sent home.

I walked quickly down Forest Ave. to our downtown a half mile away.

As I walked through in the direction of my home another mile and a half away, I remembered it was eerily silent except for some loud TV broadcasting coming through open doors of businesses. Hardly a car came through downtown.

I then ran down toward the beach and turned to run down the railroad tracks past the twenty year long deserted and dilapidated train station.

My mom was sitting in shock watching the news on TV when I reached home. She didn't even respond to my rushing in.

I ran upstairs and turned on the old, grainy black and white TV at the end of my brothers and my bed and stayed glued to it the next 48 hours.

I watched Jack Ruby blow Oswald's guts out "LIVE" on TV Sunday morning.

Ruby did this right inside the Dallas Police Department building!

I leaped off my bed when Ruby shot Oswald and unconsciously started shouting to myself "NO WAY!", "NO WAY!", "NO WAY" over and over.

Even as a 12 year old, my young gut told me there was something very, very wrong with this picture. Impossibly wrong.

I never felt any different after 60 years.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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Ten year old me was in the fifth grade.  At about 2 o'clock EST the intercom started playing the radio news that the president had been shot.  At about 2:30, the announcement was made that the president was dead.  The principal came on the intercom and dismissed the students for the day.  When I got home, the tv was already on with the assassination coverage.  It was quite monumental for this 10 year old.

Edited by Dan Rice
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I've told this story on here before but not this part.  I really don't remember being told the President had been killed, or watching the news about it.  

I'd turned 7 less than a month before, was in the 2nd grade at Gust Elementary in Denver Colorado.  I walked home two blocks for lunch as usual.  Mother had a radio in the kitchen with the news on.  I didn't pay attention.  The phone rang, she talked excitedly.  I headed back to school.  I remember an odd feeling as I approached the doors, there were no other kids around, nor in the halls, or my homeroom as I entered.  Just the teacher, sitting at her desk, crying.  She told me there is no more school today, go back home.

I feel sure I asked my mother when I got back home why there was no more school.  She probably told me the President died today.  I didn't have a very good concept of what the president meant.  At a hair over six years old to me he was kind of the boss over all the states I was still learning about.  I do remember no after school or Saturday/Sunday morning cartoons or other normal shows.  Nothing but news.  Which I didn't watch.  I do remember the tv being on through and my parents watching. I went and played with toys or outside.

I do remember watching the funeral parade on Monday, another day out of school.  I don't know if my parents made me, for the historical significance, or if maybe the pageantry caught my eye as they watched.  I don't remember John-John saluting.  But I do remember the horses and people marching and walking and all the people watching.  In particular I remember a saddled riderless horse, with boots stuck in the stirrups backwards being led.  I asked my dad, why?

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