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So what WERE you doing?


Guest Stephen Turner
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Guest Stephen Turner

In view of the date.

People of a certain age say that you always remember what you were doing when the news came through from Dallas. I was eight years old, at home with my Mother and Brother watching Bonanza on a TV that was at least four feet across, with about six inches of screen. The first report simply said that the Pres had been shot at, shortly after the programme was interrupted again. (Never did get to find out how they saved the ponderoza that day.) I can remember my Mother crying at the awful news. My Father came home from work early, It seemed like the town came to a halt, I remember him saying to my mum, " Bertha, why would anybody shoot that man" The question echo's down the years. Please add your story.

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Interesting story, Stephen.

There certainly was a "dark side of Camelot" but certainly one of Kennedy's strengths was that he was indeed loved the world over (with the except of the leaders, at least. of the Communist countries). That admiration for the man also brought a lot of respect for the United States around the globe.

It is certainly true that there were many, many tears shed around the world forty-two years ago. And I suspect every member of this Forum who was old enough shed some of them.

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I was living for a year in the states, while both partents were ill. I was in Quincy Mass, in my 8th grade class when we got the news of the shot. I ran all the way home-praying very hard. Turned on tv and got the terrible news. I was INCONSOLABLE. My aunt and uncle lived near a beach, so I just went for a very long, sad walk. JFK was to be speaking in Boston around Christmas and Aunt CInda was going to take me. I had been so excited. I think numbness and shock were the first emotions, and of course non-stop tv was the activity. I heard all about Oswald, initially on my little transister radio. The amount of information on him was a surprise and the type made me immediately suspicious. I remember telling my aunt and uncle that very night "There's your killer" as we saw LBJ sworn in. Those 4 days are forever etched in my mind as a dividing monent. When I went from being a 14 year old girl with an interest in Jack Kennedy, his wit, his charm, his idealism. Kids just loved him. Then, in a second I became a woman, a suspicious woman. I read every story. Made a JFK scrapbook. Read between the lines. No one I knew then thought it was conspiracy, so those were lonely times for me. I remember laying on my aunt's couch talking to God: why did this happen? Vowing to try to right this terrible terrible wrong. That one death would affect many later aspects of my life. I studied Government, philopophy and psychology in college with a plan to go to law school. To DO SOMETHING. What I did not know.

I guess that's the hard part, feeling so helpless against the machine. So I have spent my life talking to everyone I meet about this case to try to educate and get them to care, to read. Often without success.

Ironic that on the anniversary of 42 years I have a house guest who I met that year. She is one who does not care about the case at all. So we shall see how this goes, as I plan to educate her some, or try anyway.

Dawn

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Stockholm:

Stephen, I was sleeping, just shy of 5 years old. I remember feeling a sense that Kennedy was a good man. At some time the following day, I remember seeing the news reports. Mostly I remember seeing people crying in Dealey Plaza and at the Hospital. Later, I remember the furneral.

When the WC report came out, my education in what some of the amazing things bullets can do was under way. I studied the diagrams and reacted with 'doesn't make sense' followed by 'well, if they say so...'. RFK, and MLK followed. I retained a diminishing hope until Chappaquiddic, when that hope went, and with it the interest. The sense that the US may have something to offer the world in spite of Vietnam and Civil Unrights faded quickly.

Some of that hope and interest was rekindled after buying a DVD of JFK and seeing some of that footage again, this time with an explanation that made some sense.

I realised that reason as well as Kennedy had been assassinated, but that truth and hope, in time, has a way of percolating to the surface. This forum and some of the participatory posting irrespective of where on the political spectrum the posters may be, goes a long way towards restoring that faith.

Edited by John Dolva
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Stockholm:

Stephen, I was sleeping, just shy of 5 years old. I remember feeling a sense that Kennedy was a good man. At some time the following day, I remember seeing the news reports. Mostly I remember seeing people crying in Dealey Plaza and at the Hospital. Later, I remember the furneral.

When the WC report came out, my education in what some of the amazing things bullets can do was under way. I studied the diagrams and reacted with 'doesn't make sense' followed by 'well, if they say so...'. RFK, and MLK followed. I retained a diminishing hope until Chappaquiddic, when that hope went, and with it the interest. The sense that the US may have something to offer the world in spite of Vietnam and Civil Unrights faded quickly.

Some of that hope and interest was rekindled after buying a DVD of JFK and seeing some of that footage again, this time with an explanation that made some sense.

I realised that reason as well as Kennedy had been assassinated, but that truth and hope, in time, has a way of percolating to the surface. This forum and some of the participatory posting irrespective of where on the political spectrum the posters may be, goes a long way towards restoring that faith.

My recollection of the Kennedy assassination is a little unique in the sense that I am a lifelong Dallas resident, and like John Dolva I was 5 years old when Pres. Kennedy died, I don't remember the exact moment or even anything close. I sort of remember being at Kindergarten and being picked up early and thats about it, what is strange is that I remember all of my folks being together over that weekend, and watching the TV alot, and not being able to fathom exactly what was going on, except that this was some very serious type of event. Ironically, I remember being in the room when Ruby shot Oswald on national TV, I have always been extremely fascinated by the assassination from a very early age and have no doubt that "that weekend" was a profound influence conciously and even subconciously.

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Guest Stephen Turner

Thanks for your recolections. It would be nice if as many members as possible posted, after all for many of us it was the start of a 40+ year's search.

Interesting side note, my father was a great sports fan, and would often wake me up to watch games, matches, fights beamed in via the new (1960's) satellite technology, on one such occasion we got up at one in the morning to watch the Ali- Liston second fight 1964, we both loved the fights, and had been looking foward to this one for weeks. Anyway to cut it short Ali wiped the floor with Liston in under one round and Dad made some hot chocolate, to help us sleep, we both had a moan about the poor show Sonny had put up, and chatted the way Boys do with their dads,when out of the blue he said, "There's no way Oswald could have made those shots" we chatted a bit about the assassination, and went to bed. Funny thing is, despite my abiding interest in JFK, I cant recall us ever talking about the subject again.

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I was walking down some stairs in the University of Florida main library when someone said the president had been shot. By the time I got to my next class, word had come that he was dead. A girl in the class said matter-of-factly, "That's too bad. I kind of liked him." I've never forgotten her touching sentiment, plus a comment by a guy who lived across the hall from me: "I'm glad they shot the son of a bitch."

They have since built a new main library right by the old one. Together they're called the George Smathers Libraries.

Edited by Ron Ecker
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When I was a kid, JFK was the Senator from my state, and my dad had me shake hands with him at a Veterans parade or some such thing. I remember a sense of hope, new ideas like Peace orps, physical fitness, space program. A change from the greyness of the older generation's Ike.

On 11/22, I was in Miss Flangheddy's math class at West Junior High. For no apparent reason, we were sent back to our homerooms, where a PA announcement came of the shooting. About 40 minutes later came the death announcement and we were sent home.

Another vivid memory was a TV commercial running at that time for Narragansett lager beer. A Castro-like figure is giving a speech, and an assassin runs up and shoots him. The announcer yells "Catch that assassin and ask him what he thinks about Naragansett lager beer!" You can bet THAT commercial never ran again.

On Sunday, I had just left Mass and was at Webby's store. There was a TV behind the counter tuned to WBZ, the NBC affiliate, and somebody said "Here he comes". You all know what happened next. That murder made me wonder if this had been a plot.

I remember saving all the local newspapers, including the Thursday announcement of the trip. I remember seeing a few b/w Zapruder frames a week or two later in the Boston Record newspaper.

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Steve, kudos on a very good thread, considering the date.

Sadly, I can't offer much, save one thing. When JFK was killed I was 6 and don't remember anything about it.

But when Bobby died I had just turned 11. I wasn't very aware of politics but I remember my mother was very angry and told my father, very angrily "The Kennedy's don't owe America a bloody thing".

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Thanks for your recolections. It would be nice if as many members as possible posted, after all for many of us it was the start of a 40+ year's search.

Interesting side note, my father was a great sports fan, and would often wake me up to watch games, matches, fights beamed in via the new (1960's) satellite technology, on one such occasion we got up at one in the morning to watch the Ali- Liston second fight 1964, we both loved the fights, and had been looking foward to this one for weeks. Anyway to cut it short Ali wiped the floor with Liston in under one round and Dad made some hot chocolate, to help us sleep, we both had a moan about the poor show Sonny had put up, and chatted the way Boys do with their dads,when out of the blue he said, "There's no way Oswald could have made those shots" we chatted a bit about the assassination, and went to bed. Funny thing is, despite my abiding interest in JFK, I cant recall us ever talking about the subject again.

Hi Steve, Good idea for the day.

I've been in Dallas and DC on this day most years in the past few decades, but today I'm at my family's lake house in the Jersey Pines, looking out to the ducks on the lake in the rain.

I was in my hometown of Camden, New Jersey, ranked "The Most Dangerous City in the USA" two years in a row - back to back - the sign of a true champion. I was 12 years old in 1963, and our sixth grade class got out of school early because of the assassination, and I was home playing in the backyard when my father, a Camden policeman, called on the phone.

My mother worked at a school so I was home alone, and I remember my father saying, "Don't leave the yard, stay at home, we don't know what's behind this assassination." And I remember thinking, how could the president's assassination have any affect on me, playing in the backyard in Camden, N.J.?

Five years later I remember my father waking me up to tell my that "They killed Bobby Kennedy."

When Martin Luther King was assassinated, the first of a series of riots pretty much burned down the city, which resulted in the staus of the community today - #1 most dangerous, worse than Baghdad. Now I understand how a political assassination thousands of miles away can have an affect on a kid in Camden.

BK

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Guest Stephen Turner
William wrote:

Hi Steve, Good idea for the day.

Bill, you missed it.

This was actually Stephen's very clever way to verify that all Forum members have iron-clad alibis!

Damn, tumbled by Tim. ;) I am very suspicious of Mark, who claims he cant remember what he was doing, isn't that Nixons alibi.

Edited by Stephen Turner
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I was 9 and living in Sheffield, England. My memory of the time around the assassination was taking the bus into Sheffield to go to a music lesson and seeing all the flags at half-mast. The assassination had a profound effect on us all, really. I remember the difference between the respect the USA was held in in the post-war period up to the assassination and the way that respect drained away almost completely after Vietnam, Nixon and Gerald Ford.

I was studying Politics at Warwick University all through the end of the Nixon Administration. We were doing US and Soviet politics … and it was interesting seeing the similarities, as well as the differences between the two systems. I remember when we covered the impeachment procedure the lecturer getting all excited about such an archaic procedure potentially being dusted off and used again. Little did he know that it would be no time at all until it was used for real …

I wonder how much of US post-war history has been shaped by the distortions and perversions of the 'American Way' caused by Nixon and his mentors and cronies.

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Last night I watched "Executive Action" with a visiting friend from Massachusetts who I met right after JFk was killed. She has never been interested in this case, so this was her introduction. Seeing JFK's seech snippets in this film always still make me cry. After it was over Dianne and I talked a lot about today and how that event did change the rest of our future. We sadily and angrily tried to imagine W EVER making any speeches remotely like the ones JFK made.

I went to bed just in time to hear Joan Mellen on "Coast to Coast"-- very inspiring!!!!

Even 42 years later it still hurts. Perhaps in some ways more when we look at what could have been, compared to what was and is.

Dawn

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Thanks for your recolections. It would be nice if as many members as possible posted, after all for many of us it was the start of a 40+ year's search.

Interesting side note, my father was a great sports fan, and would often wake me up to watch games, matches, fights beamed in via the new (1960's) satellite technology, on one such occasion we got up at one in the morning to watch the Ali- Liston second fight 1964, we both loved the fights, and had been looking foward to this one for weeks. Anyway to cut it short Ali wiped the floor with Liston in under one round and Dad made some hot chocolate, to help us sleep, we both had a moan about the poor show Sonny had put up, and chatted the way Boys do with their dads,when out of the blue he said, "There's no way Oswald could have made those shots" we chatted a bit about the assassination, and went to bed. Funny thing is, despite my abiding interest in JFK, I cant recall us ever talking about the subject again.

Steve,

Minor point. The second Ali-Liston fight was in 1965--May 25 in Lewiston, Maine. The first fight was February 25, 1964--Miami Beach, Florida.

Edited by Mark Stapleton
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