North Texans reflect on where they were 50 years ago when President Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas.
I was taking a physical science test, watching the exciting local parade on the only TV in the entire school, Franklin Junior High. There was a commotion, and soon the commentator announced that Governor Connally had been shot. So a classmate ran down to the principal's office and an announcement was made over the PA system. A few minutes later we sent someone to say that President Kennedy had also been shot.
This time, the principal urged everyone to gather in the auditorium. Starving, I found only three of us and one teacher in the cafeteria, gobbled down my food and joined the rest -- all facing that little "squawkbox" up high above the stage, listening carefully. … When the announcement came that President Kennedy has died, surprise! There was a lot of happy cheering by the boys. As if the president dying wasn't enough of a shock. That was upsetting to me, too, and remains a central takeaway of that day. I have heard other similar stories.
Meantime, during the ensuing days, I was glued to the TV. I remember looking at my new baby brother in a crib, thinking someday I will tell him all about that day, that time, and where he was.
Patti Gard McIntyre
I was a young 20-year-old mother of a 5-month-old when President Kennedy was elected president of the United States. I was not old enough to vote at the time because you had to be 21 for that privilege. I would have voted for him as I had watched the convention and every appearance of him that I could find on TV. My son was not a good sleeper, so I rocked him at all hours of the night, therefore getting to enjoy some of the late night TV [on which] JFK appeared. He was so witty, young and refreshing. As a child, I had lived with the fear of the cold war and was inspired by his visions for the U.S. I still have my campaign badge of “Youth for Kennedy.” … It is so hard to believe it has been 50 years as in my heart it seems like yesterday.
We will never know how his presidency would have turned out, but he gave the youth of America a lot of hope in our system. He brought to the presidency so much vigor and actual interest in the White House. Jackie brought so much glamour and grace to her position as First Lady. Loved them both and I still get sad when I see what she had to endure by losing her husband at such a young age.
I was 9 years old on the day of the assassination. I remember that I was in third grade at St. Luke's Catholic School in Irving and I was playing on the playground. We must have heard that Kennedy was coming to Dallas because we were chanting "Kennedy Kennedy, he's our man. Nixon goes in the garbage can." (being the staunch Catholics we were.) The nuns called us back into class before recess was finished. They were all crying and said that our sainted president was dead. Of course, we all started crying, too. We had to go to mass and pray for the president. I think it was cloudy and dreary outside. Then we got to go home early.
The longtime Dallas businessman and philanthropist recalled his experience around the assassination for the Washington Post: