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Fifty Years Ago

Friday, November 22, 2013

I know that those of us who were aware of the world around us cannot forget where we were or what we were doing 50 years ago Nov. 22 (the day I am writing this).
I was an 18 year old freshman in college happily packing up our room with my new best friend and roommate as we were moving into a brand new dorm from our temporary housing in an old hotel at the edge of campus. All of us had our doors open, radios blaring with a variety of stations. All of a sudden it seemed as all of our radios were tuned to the same station and Pam, a senior down the hall, stepped into the hallway and said, "They've shot the president." Thus began a weekend of unreality for all of us. I remember hearing the bell from the chapel toll when the president's death was announced.
Much of the converstaion and news casting about this event has focused on the impact it had on my generation, a loss of innocence, a loss of confidence in our government as it seemed to be so quickly followed by the horrors of Vietnam, the stigma of Watergate and such a loss of belief in our government and its officials.
For me this process, which many say is related to seeing the distress of the adults around us, began about 2 1/2 years earlier. It was called the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was 16, a junior in high school and had just returned from a rehearsal for our school's variety show. I walked in just after the JFK had finished his TV address indicating the U. S. Nave would be blockading the Soviets from taking missiles to Cuba. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen my parents afraid.
I know the generation of young people who experienced 9/11 will have similar memories as our children do the of Challenger disaster.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Carol, I remember so clearly all of the events you mentioned. The Cuban missile crisis, then the death of President Kennedy put a firm end to my 'age of innocence'.
    I will never forget the feelings I had with each tragedy.

    Thank you for your thoughtful blog.

    Hugs, Leslie emoticon
    1936 days ago
    Memories that are reprised so many times.

    Although I didn't exist during that time. I've seen, heard and noticed what people were feeling when they recalled. I remember Challenger, 9/11, the Berlin Wall coming down, and so many other things in the past.

    Some things, whether you've been witness to it or not. Just are never forgotten.
    1944 days ago
    We all remember those life-changing, world altering moments. May we always remember!
    1946 days ago
    I was 21 just finished College going onto a Graduate degree
    1947 days ago
    I was in second grade and the principal came and called the teacher out of class. She came back in and was shook up. She said the president was dead and we were going home. I was crying, I had a crush on him. I remember walking home with my brother, and my Mom meeting us about half way. She was crying too. I didn't understand why someone shot the president. I was full of questions that my parents couldn't answer.
    1947 days ago
  • PERUSER918
    That was a much different time. We were young and innocent as Americans. WWs had been devastating, but losing your leader at someone else's hands was an eye opener for us. I agree 9/11 might have the same effect. The only difference is that the innocence was already gone.
    1948 days ago
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