Where were you 58 years ago today?

November 22, 1963

I was in the 7th grade, in between classes. A group of students was around a teacher, and the teacher said “Yes, he’s dead”. Walking down the hall in between classes, I had heard what I thought were rumors from other students in the hallway until the teacher confirmed it.

My mother was going into a Bank of America branch and saw everyone sobbing.

What a week that was for America.

To see on live television the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, get shot.

I can still remember that slow, melodic drum beat as the Presidential funeral procession slowly made its way to Arlington National Cemetery.

I can remember seeing a little boy saluting his father as they slowly went by.

Looking back on that day, I think America took a turn. Before we were in the culture of the 50s, and after came the Berkeley “Free Speech” riots and much more to come.

Two more national figures would be assassinated.

I’ve been watching this 2013 movie, Parkland, about that day and the days to follow. It is far enough along in time that the emotions aren’t raw and painful.

And if you think you know all about that day, you should see this movie. Not only do they show historic rare newsreel footage (including his brief stop at Ft Worth to be given a cowboy hat), but recreated scenes not on the newsreels, such as the Secret Service interviewing Abraham Zapruder, who would have the most famous 8mm home movie ever made.

Well worth your time, on Amazon Prime.

H/T to jas for recommending this

11/23/21 2121I was reading a bit more on the Zapruder film – 26.6 seconds that probably had more viewers than any other movie.

Zapruder loved to take home movies, and originally, because of the rain in the morning, didn’t take his camera. But someone convinced him to go home and get it, and from his vantage point – about 30 meters from the motorcade – he started filming as soon as the motorcade turned from Houston Street to Elm Street.

The scene so traumatizing he never used that Bell & Howell movie camera again.

Kennedy’s limousine was literally right in front of him when he was struck in the head by one of Oswald’s bullets. Zapruder continued to film until the limousine was out of sight.

Here is the original Zapruder film…

Here is the scene in Parkland where the Secret Service approaches Zapruder about the existence of his film:

11/24/21 1226I mentioned that America seemed to take a drastic turn in events from pre and post November 22. I remember an interesting article in the old history magazine – American Heritage – on “what if” Kennedy had lived.

And here is an interesting scenario for you – more than speculation:

From their US Senate days, John Kennedy and Barry Goldwater were friends. And Kennedy assumed that he would be running in the 1964 elections. And they agreed, that if Goldwater, a conservative, got the Republican nomination, that they would have a series of “whistlestop” campaign tours together, like Lincoln and Douglas. Only they would stop not at train stations, but airports.

Would there have been a Gulf of Tonkin resolution? Even a Vietnam War? The Kennedy supporters maintain that he would not have had the troop deployments that President Johnson had – I am not so sure.

But it is a certainty that history would be changed because of that day.

11-27-21 1159A recent YouTube post of Secret Service agent Clint Hill (who was at the car with the Kennedy Party) on that fateful day.


Filed under History

6 responses to “Where were you 58 years ago today?

  1. mcthag

    Half of me was in my mother’s ovary. The other half had not yet been manufactured in my father’s testes.

    • Of course, the question has the implication that you were alive at that time 😉

      Although in posing the question to the Lexicans I have had the realization that I am rapidly becoming an OF 🙂

  2. ohengineer

    I was in the 4th grade listening to the news in class at Sunrise elementary school in Albany, OR. There was nothing worth watching on TV for 4 days, and I was off school those 4 days as well.

  3. I was a choirboy at All Saints Church, Northampton, UK

  4. edward

    In a laboratory building optics for a spark chamber at MIT during my junior year.

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