Sixty years ago, it was a beautiful fall day. I was a Junior in High School. All of us could not wait for the Thanksgiving Holiday to come. But for now, English class was starting. We were reading the book “The Ship of Fools” and the teacher was discussing what we had read. A mundane day, one of those school days when a teenager wishes their life away anxious for the school day to end. So, there I was half listening and half daydreaming when the overhead PA system turns on and we are waiting for an announcement – instead, a broadcast came on saying the President had been shot. We all looked around and got up and all of us in mass headed for the History Department because they had TVs. We all filed into the history room – no one made a sound, and we watched it unfold. Shortly thereafter, from Parkland Hospital, the doctors announced that President Kennedy was dead. No one said a word as we all just left and went home. It was strange to see all the high-schoolers silently leave the buildings and start walking home. No sounds, no talking, nothing – just a bunch of numb teenagers. At home my mother had the TV on, and we just stayed glued to it round the clock. As if this was not enough drama, we watched as Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald just a few days later. Had the world gone mad? It was totally unbelievable. A year earlier the President had saved us from a nuclear war with the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Now he was gone. Many of the people had hopes and dreams for President Kennedy, but now everything changed. In a way we lost some of our innocence that day. At the time the government gathered a group to investigate the events that led to our President’s demise called the Warren Commission. They told us the information would be released in 50 years. It has been 60 years, and the information is still not released. It is a shame. The nation changed on that fateful November day and was never the same. But there is a silver lining. This nation fulfilled the President’s promise of putting a man on the moon in the decade (1960s). NASA did it in 1969. We were proud to see NASA put men on the moon and honor President Kennedy’s commitment and surprised to see the first pictures of our Big Blue Marble. It was a tribute to a fallen hero and the gift of space to future generations. Now, looking to the present future, may this Thanksgiving be a wonderful blessing to you and your family for all you have received.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.