KERA Voices

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KERA Voices is an occasional series where North Texans share their stories in their own words.

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As the anniversary of JFK’s assassination grows closer, so do the memories of people in Dallas who welcomed the president to the city where he would die. Many of them were children, who went back to school after hearing the news of Kennedy's death -- their distraught parents didn't know what else to do but take them back. Howard Weiner was one of those kids. He was 12 – a crossing guard for his 7th grade class. His dad insisted Howard not miss school on the morning of November 22, 1963, but his mom picked him up and took him to Love Field to greet President Kennedy.  

I met Shannon Hall at South Side Ballroom, in the shadow of downtown Dallas. We were there for a day-long symposium called Understanding Tragedy: The Impact of the JFK Assassination on Dallas. As a junior at UNT, Shannon drives down as often as she can - to hear music at South Side, see exhibits at the Dallas Museum of Art, peruse the shops at Riverfront. As a small-town kid, though, her first impression of Dallas was terrifying - and for all her fondness toward Dallas, she hasn't totally shaken the feeling.

Suncreek United Methodist Church

Before the nation mourned, news of President John F. Kennedy's death made its way around a broken city. Some Dallasites were waiting to hear JFK speak at the Trade Mart when they heard he would never arrive. Rev. Zan Holmes remembers a party frozen in grief.

 As a child in London, 93-year-old Daphne Silwood was taken to see royalty whenever the public was invited. So as a supporter of President John F. Kennedy, she didn't think twice about taking her two kids out of school to see the First Couple at Love Field. What happened at the fence would stay with her for 50 years.