November 22, 1963

Near as I can tell I was in the 7th Grade when President Kennedy was killed. It is a day I remember very well. I was in school at Gildford Public Schools, a very close community and school. At that time the grades from 1st thru High School went to the same building, so when we were all in the lunch room that day they said for no one to leave as they had an announcement for all of us.

Then they said that our President had been shot and killed.

It was like someone hit us with a sledge hammer. The whole room gave a little gasp and then the crying started, High Schoolers right down to us in Junior High and the younger ones too. It was unheard of and when you studied history you knew President Lincoln had been shot and killed, but that was another time and place, the kind of thing that happened in dusty history books not in your lunch room in a small school.

John F Kennedy

CC Image “John F. Kennedy, Time cover January 5, 1962, ‘Man of the Year’“, courtesy of Cliff via Flickr

I can remember looking around the room, girls and boys were all grieving, I could see some of the teachers holding back their own tears. There was nothing like school shrinks in that day and age to come around and comfort this room of young people who were in shock and disbelief. The comforting fell on the teachers themselves and the principal. The rest of the day was a blur and it isn’t remembered as clearly as that lunch scene a long time ago.

President Kennedy has been gone all these years, but this memory is very strong and the tears still come when I think of this scene many years ago. It is written very deep in my mind.


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  1. Carla says:

    This was my experience, too, in the lunchroom at F. E Miley Elementary School in Big Sandy. It’s a memory,as yours,that will be forever seared in my mind.

  2. Slim says:

    Thanks Carla, these things will be there always.

  3. Mary Bolta says:

    It didn’t really hit me at first. It was sort of far off. It really hit hard when the funeral procession started and then I couldn’t leave the television.

  4. Slim says:

    The whole thing was so surreal, it didn’t register for awhile. Thanks Mary for coming by.

  5. Michelle says:

    Wow – I was only 4 years old- but I knew something terrible had happened. .

  6. Slim says:

    Yes it was Michelle and it shook this country to the core. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Billy Collins says:

    Carbon Hill Alabama
    School Auditorium
    We have just taken six week tests and had just finished watching a movie.
    Came in a told us of this.
    I can still see one girls face that I looked at she is in my mental pictures forever.
    We thought the world had ended.
    We had no TV. I do remember that.

  8. Slim says:

    Yes sir all of it’s burned into my memory.. Different world after that, no more innocence or Camelot.. Thanks for sharing my Friend.

  9. Matt Lubich says:

    Nice piece, Russ.

  10. Slim says:

    Thanks Matt, I appreciate that.

  11. Sue says:

    I remember the day as you do, Russ. There were rumors floating around during recess but nobody knew the facts really. Then in the lunch room… it is rather surreal. I don’t remember the rest of the day much either. Sad day for our country. Thank you for this.

  12. Slim says:

    It is one of my clearest memories.. Even today I can see and hear it through the years..Thanks for comin by Sue.

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