Friday, November 22, 2013

A Sad Day in the Name of JFK

Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal." 
- John F. Kennedy

One of the most memorable days of my life was in October of 1960. I was a mere 5 years of age. My mother sent my father off to work and sent my siblings off to school. With me in tow, she went to the Amarillo airport, where John F. Kennedy was to speak while campaigning to be President.

I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a cold and windy day. JFK got off of a plane to speak to a small crowd of Democrats on the runway of the Amarillo airport. As he walked up to the podium, my mother was holding me in the front row of the crowd. He looked at his notes and then glanced over the crowd that was behind a temporary chain link fence. He motioned to one of his aids to take me from my mother and lift me over the fence. The man gently sat me on the front row of about 3 rows of chairs in front of the fence that were designated for the press. I sat front and center. It was the first time I remember being star struck. I didn't know who he was or what he did before that day, but I knew he was special. After his speech, he came down from the podium and as he was shaking hands with those in the media, he bent down and kissed me on the head. I felt I had been blessed.

Needless to say, when the news came of his assassination, 50 years ago today on November 22, 1963, I was sad. We were released from school and when I arrived home, I found my mother crying. A stunned nation mourned.

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