I can tell you exactly where I was when I heard the news…Study Hall, 6th period, Classical High School Auditorium in Providence.
The principal, William MacDougald, asked for our attention and told us that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas and gravely wounded. I remember him turning the volume up on a table-top radio and tuning it to coverage – I’m pretty sure it was CBS Radio – and we listened until the end-of-day dismissal bell rang (2:30 PM Eastern) on Friday, November 22, 1963. It was, I recall, roundly described as “a day we would never forget.”
This morning (November 22, 2021), as I meander through my regular morning diet of news websites, it appears we have forgotten. Granted, nearly six decades have passed since the Texas Book Depository became familiar to nearly everyone around the world, but isn’t it worth mentioning some of the progress we’ve made or lessons we’ve learned since that day in Dallas?
Or did we learn nothing?
Or are those who were alive to experience and remember those days now simply part of an undesirable media demographic, too old to be considered in the race for “Breaking News”?
Today’s post, triggered by the lack of retrospective coverage on November 22, asks some questions that we’d like you to respond to. Which you can do right now by putting your thoughts in the Comment box below. OLLI Connects is a conversation. Speak up! –Editors
George Hyde MBA Brown University, is a veteran radio broadcaster who served as Executive VP, Radio Advertising Bureau; Vice Chairman, National Association of Broadcasters; and Florida Regional Vice President for a major radio group. George spent his career in radio, both on-air and behind the scenes. His passion for accurate information and critical thinking has led to the creation of many memorable OLLI courses.
6 Replies to “Remembering the Kennedy Assassination”
Showtime has shown Oliver Stone’s documentary titled “JFK Revisited – Through the Looking Glass” this week. It contains some footage which has never been seen. I agree that I was surprised with the lack of coverage elsewhere.
It was a shocking and gruesome. Today I only catch glimpses of news casts as its routinely depressing. Anchors today revere themselves and tell us their side of generally events, assuming their version is correct and must spoon feed us plebeians. That’s more disgusting than what’s being “reported”. No Walter Cronkite’s that I know of out there today.
I was surprised when the assassination wasn’t on the morning news, a first after all these years. In fact no one made mention of it until the 6 o’clock news. Another mark in history almost forgotten while for me, it could have been yesterday.
How different today is from then. There was respect in that time… which is barely seen anymore, when honor is a word and active is rarely seen.
I was eating dinner in a restaurant in Rome, Italy, when the news of President Kennedy’s assassination was announced on the TV. I was heading back to the USA the next day, so was free to take in the parade and all the hubbub around the incident.
I look back on that day as the beginning of America’s loss of innocence.
Thank you George for reminding us of one of the most memorable days in our lives. I never fail to take pause on this day and remember. I was living with my family in Libreville, Gabon. My father was a young diplomat working at our embassy; I attended the local elementary school Ecole Mixte – a few blocks away from where we lived, behind a grove of banana and mango trees. It must have been mid- afternoon when our houseboy, Jean-Marie, ran into the house shouting frantically, “Votre president est mort.”
That night my father stayed close to the huge short wave radio set up in his office/darkroom. He listened late into the early morning, shifting the dials from Voice of America to BBC World News. I didn’t really understand everything that was going on, but I certainly sensed the gravity of the situation and knew that this event would impact our lives in ways we would only come to understand years later.
Thanks George for your very interesting, well written article. It happened within a short time of my arrival to the U.S. as an immigrant, and it shocked me profoundly.