Death in Dallas: Remembering the assassination of JFKWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Bob Latta
I was in second grade in 1963 at Kenwood Elementary in Bowling Green. They sent us home from school after word came that the president had been assassinated. I still remember seeing several teachers out by the buses, crying. I distinctly remember where I was on the sidewalk when I heard what had happened.
Dad was in Congress at the time, so we drove to Washington, with my dad, mom, sister and I. I still remember standing on the bridge that connects Washington with Arlington National Cemetery when they drove past with Kennedy’s body. Again, it’s one of those things that really shook the nation, to have a president assassinated, and unfortunately we’ve had four. It’s one of those things, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, it was a very sorrowful thing.
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Like so many of my generation, I remember where I was when I first learned that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. I was in sixth grade at Brinkerhoff School in Mansfield when Principal Sheets came over the PA system to let us know that the president had been shot. One hour later, he informed us — the older students — in person that President Kennedy was dead.
I remember the confusion and sadness that so many of us felt. But it reaffirmed that the chance to serve can be fleeting, and that we all can and should work toward social and economic justice each and every day.
Toledo Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins
The events of Nov. 22, 1963, are indelible in my memory. I was at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and we were in a field exercise using .50-caliber machine guns in a mock combat engagement. Early into the afternoon, while training, a convoy of troop haulers came upon our training site with several members of the command staff. They met briefly with our training staff and platoon leaders and then we were ordered to secure our weapons and immediately board the transport trucks as our training day had been suspended.
We returned to our barracks and were told that we were not to communicate with anyone other than Marine personnel and that earlier that day, President John F. Kennedy had been killed by an assassin.
My first thought was “how could this have possibly happened and who could have been responsible?”
As I recall back on that date, the Cold War was an ever-threatening reality and the relationship with Cuba, as a result of the missile crisis, created a similar set of risks.
My entire platoon, as well as all of the members of our company, were hit with a feeling of insecurity yet felt an overwhelming sense of duty to our country. The major concern at that time, because of where we were located, was that we would be moved to Little Creek, Va., and from there, to engage in an amphibious landing in Havana. While those plans were made known, they were never executed. Days later, while watching television, I became an eyewitness, as a result of the electronic media, to a homicide. Lee Harvey Oswald, who was in custody for the assassination of Kennedy was killed before the eyes of the nation by Jack Ruby.
To this day I can close my eyes and revisit those circumstances, which reverberated throughout the world. May this great American rest in peace.
Toledo City Councilman George Sarantou
I was a sixth-grade student at McKinley Elementary School when the principal announced that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas. Shortly after that, we were dismissed from school. I came home and my mom also told me about the assassination and everyone was simply in shock. During the next four days, I witnessed how sad my parents and other family members were and how outraged they were that this happened. I will never forget seeing my father cry for the first time as a child, and I knew that this was absolutely devastating to my parents. I also detected a huge amount of skepticism as to why this happened and as a result of this tragedy I will never forget Nov. 22, 1963, which certainly changed my life and the life of our nation.
Kennedy’s inspiration was part of the reason I sought public office later in life because I felt that one person can make a difference.
Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman
I was in my fifth-grade classroom at Heatherdowns Elementary School in South Toledo that fateful afternoon. Our teacher, Miss Hirsch, was called out of the classroom by our principal, Miss Beach. That was highly unusual and it appeared that all the teachers were called, too. When Miss Hirsch came back in to the classroom a short time later she was crying. She closed the door and said, “President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas and has died.” For 10-year-olds there was an overwhelming sense of unbelief. Who would want to hurt our President? Some cried, all sat not knowing what to say other than, “Who did it” and “How did it happen?” There were no real answers just a great sadness that filled the room that day. I remember watching Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as the new president. In the following days all families were glued to their televisions trying to find answers and eventually watching the president’s funeral procession. It was one of the saddest times in most of our lives.
I often wonder what might have been accomplished by Kennedy had this event not occurred. The years following were tumultuous both in the U.S. and Southeast Asia, but our country was strong and survived.
Tags: .50-caliber machine guns, Arlington National Cemetery, assassination, Bowling Green, Brinkerhoff School, Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Cold War, Dallas, Democrat, Heatherdowns Elementary School, Kenwood Elementary, Lee Harvey Oswald, Lyndon B. Johnson, Mansfield, McKinley Elementary School, President John F. Kennedy, Rep. Bob Latta, Republican, Senator Sherrod Brown, Texas, Toledo City Councilman George Sarantou, Toledo City Councilman Rob Ludeman, Toledy Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins