Where Were You the Day President Kennedy Was Shot?

AARP is gathering memories
about the event that stunned a nation.
Many of us remember November 22, 1963, including exactly where we were, and how we felt.
Please share your experience. And tell us how that moment, and the days that followed John F. Kennedy's assassination, shaped you. Click the word "submit" to share your thoughts, share your name, location and age if you like, and we'll approve and post your comment. Find much more at aarp.org/jfk

If the president was not safe then none of us in this country were

My husband and I had been married not quite a year. We were living in Austin; he was a student at UT. I had a job working at the Dept of Public Welfare located in the Reagan Bldg which  was just north of the capitol. That day state offices were closing that afternoon because the president was coming  to Austin from Dallas for a parade down Congress Ave. 

I went to lunch, walking thru the capitol, to a cafeteria located downtown.  Upon returning to the office about 1pm there was a group gathered at a desk; I thought maybe they were telling LBJ jokes.  It was then I leaned JFK had been shot. 

Our office closed and I walked back down Congress to catch a bus home.  Congress Ave was deserted; quite a contrast when I had been there about two hours earlier.  We stayed glued to our black and white tv for several days. 

I remember thinking and feeling that if the president was not safe then none of us in this country were. It was a feeling of what was going to happen next. 

I was only seven years old when I saw my teacher cry that day.

My parents had taken me a few weeks earlier on Sept. 26, 1963, to see President Kennedy when he was in Great Falls, MT. My dad was stationed at Malmstrom AFB there.  My USAF father put me on his shoulders to see President Kennedy go by in the parade, and we saw him clearly - my mother remarked on how he looked more pale than she thought he would look up close. I knew about JFK because my parents talked about him so much in our home.  Then when the unthinkable occurred in Dallas a few weeks later, I was in my 1st grade classroom when my teacher began crying after being told of JFK’s being shot.  We all got up after being asked to put our coats on because we were going home early.  I just remember my wonderful teacher being so sad, and that was very upsetting to me.  I vividly remember the whole situation. I recently found a video online that someone posted of JFK’s visit and the parade in Great Falls, MT at the very time I saw him.  It was traumatic for the world, our nation and for all the children who watched the adults’ reactions to the tragedy. It made a huge impact on me at age seven. I may have grown up a little bit that day.

I was in the 9th Grade Science Class

I was sitting in front of my friend, Teresita Fernandez in Science Class.  We were in the first and second chair far against the wall underneath the huge clock and under the broadcast speaker that was next to it.  Right in the middle of the class the school principal broke in over the loudspeaker. 

I recall clearly as if it were yesterday that as he told us of President Kennedy being shot, Teresita began to cry inconsolably.  She had met President Kennedy just the year before.  He was responsible for bringing her over from Cuba to live with a teacher that taught in our school so that she could live in the United States and get a good education.  Her father was a doctor in Cuba and was not allowed to come with her - she had to come alone. 

I don’t know what happened to Teresita but she was extremely smart and I truly loved her as my special friend.  Later that day I thought we would be allowed to go home - everyone was crying and upset.  But for some reason, we had to get on a school bus to ride to the nearby bowling alley for our weekly bowling for gym class.  As I was riding on that bus my head inside was screaming out asking why are we going about our day as if nothing happened.  Somewhere inside as I threw that ball down the alley, I said to myself I know he will die. 

My mother eventually came and picked me up as I was walking home from school at the end of the day.  She was driving a white 1963 Impala with red interior.  She had been crying as well and took us to get some ice cream at the ice cream shop in Guilford College Village Square.  I will never forget that day.  Later when they had his funeral, I remember a teacher brought in her television with those large rabbit ears, and set it up on a file cabinet so we could watch the procession instead of having Health Class.  That truly seemed to have been the end of a special era at least for me.

President Kennedy’s Shocking Assassination

Being a Catholic attending a Catholic School, I was age 14 and sitting in my Algebra class when an announcement came through our PA system that our Presidenthad been shot. We prayed the rosary for him when shortly there after another announcement came to us that our treasured President had died. We were sent home shortly and remember crying feeling, so shocked and thinking of his wife, and children that will grow up with out a Father. Being young minded I remember how thrilled I was that a Irish Catholic became President of the USA. I felt as though our President was my hero, as I too, was an Irish Catholic.

So the dream created by this family was dead and that hurt when thinking about how something like this could possibly happen? Times were different, people were not killing each other, how could this happen?

Arriving at home, I began to openly cry and my Mother hugged me. We watched in shock with the rest of the country the news regarding the assassination. My Father and younger siblings were home now and my Father spoke about this tragedy repeating over and over that the person that committed this dreadful act will be reprehended soon. I believed him.

I think it was a Sunday, not sure but I was watching the television when I actually viewed the live killing of suspect Lee Harvey Oswald. I called for my Father who was in the other room and told him what happened. He could not believe it. Our entire family cried because we felt our lives had changed forever. We now were a witness to murder. We turned the television off and spoke about this new crime against the suspect. We prayed too, for God to help put our country back together again. We felt that our country was sinking fast. At this time, we did not know if it was a foreign attack on our President or if it was Lee Harvey Oswald. I remember feeling afraid. My parents assured us all that our country is safe and that this crime will be solved soon. 

President Kennedy’s funeral was like no other that I had ever seen. It was a large funeral with people from all over the world attending. I remember watching Mrs. Kennedy and told my Mother that I do not know how she could remain so strong? Mrs. Kennedy set an example of dignity, respect, and love of family for her late husbands funeral. Although heavily veiled during the funeral you could still see her pain. Her children were at her side and suddenly her little son John, stepped up as the casket passed and he saluted his Father. Everyone in our home cried. It was so terribly sad yet everyone was so proud of this family’s composer and grace.

These are the memories that I have of our good President and his Family. The President’s Assassination and ensuing Funeral changed our Country for good in that we no longer seemed to have trust that our President would always be protected. We must be on guard as bad people exist that cause grievous harm and pain to others. 

I will always remember the Presidential Family called Kennedy’s, that once lived a life that was admired by all in our Country, and then they were gone in a matter of seconds. Life can be cruel.


The Day the World Changed

I was a high school freshman in Oregon. It must have been lunch time because we were in the cafeteria when the principal came over the intercom and said President Kennedy had been shot and was dead and that school was cancelled and we all needed to go home. When I got home my brother was already  there, watching the horrible news on black and white TV.  I remember watching Oswald being shot. I have never believed he was guilty. He was the “patsy”, as he claimed. I was stunned and in shock. Life had seemed so carefree until the day that President Kennedy was shot. It never seemed that way again.

Like it was yesterday

I was a senior at East Meadow High School, on Long Island, taking a Spanish test during 7th period. The announcement that President Kennedy had been shot came over the public address system. All of us gasped in horror. The teacher immediately ordered us to continue taking the test—without any acknowledgment of what we had just heard. There was one other senior in the class. She and I looked at each other in disbelief.

After class, everyone seemed to be walking aimlessly through the hallways; many were crying. Some students were saying that Kennedy was dead. Shortly thereafter, the dreaded confirmation of that rumor came over the P.A. system. The principal announced that school was dismissed.

The next day was my 17th birthday. I spent all day and most of the night glued to the TV set, crying. The following several days were spent exactly the same way.

One traveler happened to have been from Texas, and thus he was refused service in Restaurants,

Back in the Fall of 1963, I was hitchhiking about Europe, and thus while in Salzburg, Austria, in the Youth Hostel, a German businessman offered a ride down thru Yugoslavia to Greece, for he was driving to Athens for business. Thus, i accepted, and so off we went, traveling thru what was then Communist Yougaslavia. The country was very poor, road were likewise in poor condition, and we had no communication with the outside world.

Thus it was that when we got the Greece Border, the Border Guards showed me a local newspaper, that had photos of both Kennedy & Johnson on the front. Thus, being that I don’t understand Greek, had no idea what the photos were for, etc. Thus assumed that maybe Kennedy & Johnson were visiting Greece.

And so it was, a couple of days later, when got to Athens, and checked into the Youth Hostel, that in talking to other travelers, found out about the Kennedy having been shot. Thereafter, was able to see an English printed newspaper, and thus read what had happened. Fortunately, I was from Northern Ohio at the time, for the local Shop Owners would ask Americans where they were from, etc.

Unfortunately, one traveler happened to have been from Texas, and thus he was refused service in Restaurants, etc. And thus it was, later, when saw another paper pertaining to the Funeral, that it really “Hit Me” as to what had happened!

I sat in silence in front of the Television set watching day after day the sad events of our dear Presidents assasination

For days quiet took over all that was around me. We sat numbed in front of our television sets watching services where we were shown people lining the streets to catch a glimpse of Mr. Kennedy’s flag draped coffin, roll by carried on wagon. And then the following events where the shooter ( Oswald)  was arrested, and then Ruby breaking through the crowds and shooting him.  I don’t think I talked for months during this time. It was all too much to fathom for an 11 year old, as I was.

Oh, this is the first death that I had seen on TV.

President Kennedy was assassinated on my oldest sister’s 16th birthday.

I was in third grade at the time.

In 1970, on November 22nd, our only brother, of five kids, was killed in a car wreck. Once again on my oldest sister’s birthday and 2 weeks to my 16th birthday.

Rest In Peace….

The Day Kennedy Was Shot

I’m 72 years old.  The day Kennedy was shot, I living in Eagle Rock, CA.  I was 8 months pregnant and vacuuming my living room with the TV on…which was unusual, I didn’t usually do both activities at the same time. My first child, son Joe, was born December 28, a month later.  The news story caught my eye and I could hardly believe what I was seeing… What a horrible tragedy, it seemed unreal.

That was in the day when people were not as sceptical about our national leaders as we are today.  They were our heroes, so it was even more horrifying to the viewers, we felt we had lost a great man.  I’ll never forget that day. To this day, I still feel there was something ‘funny’ about that event, the whole sequence of events that followed were not believable, Jack Ruby ..c’mon,  Conspiracy?  Maybe.  Will we ever get the truth on this one?