46th Anniversary

Quick, what were you doing when you heard the news?

If you're asking What news?, you're probably under 50 years old. Today, November 22, is the 46th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assasination in Dallas, Texas.

Those of us old enough can attest that it had the same effect on us as the 9/11 attacks of 2001 had on us--and those born in the interim--all those years ago.

I was in school, getting ready to head home. As a "walker", I had to wait with the other walkers until the buses left with the bus kids. This was a yin/yang type situation: the bus kids got to leave a few minutes before the walkers, but the walkers usually managed to get home before the bus kids. We also got to do stuff for our respective teachers, such as running the day's roll to the office, clapping the dust off the erasers (way cool when you're 6 or 7 and the teacher has given you this responsibility).

The bus kids had were in the process of boarding their rides as I ran the roll to the office for my fifth grade teacher. Another walker, heading back to her classroom from the office, tears on her horrified face, sobbed, "The president's been shot." No way, I thought, unable to fathom such a horrible deed. I knew Lincoln had been assasinated almost a century earlier. But Kennedy? Who would do such a thing?

I had to announce myself several times to the office staff, as students were to physically hand the day's roll to one of the secretaries. Everyone in the office, secretaries, principal, teachers, were listening to a radio in stunned silence.

At home, minutes after leaving school, I found my mom with the TV on, something she rarely watched during the day. She had tears in her eyes and her voice was shaky as she told me the news.

The television stayed on the rest of the day. In a move that was unprecidented for the time, the networks broke from their daily schedules to bring updates on the assasination.

The remainder of the day went by in a numbing blur, the same numbing blur that most of us remember all too well during the days following the 9/11 attacks. Most of us were in shock, wanting this to be a horrible nightmare.

Since JFK's assasination, many things have changed--46 years worth of change. The only JFK sibling left alive is his sister Jean Ann Kennedy.

It is our duty, whether in memory of that fateful November day in 1963 or the September morning in 2001, to try to make this world a better place for all of us.

If not for the memory of the past, then do it for the future.