Friday, 22 November 2013

R.I.P. JFK NOVEMBER 22 2013.

It was just an ordinary day for our multi-grade class in a little Canadian village.

Mrs. B. managed our 3-4-5 mix of middle-grade students with a mix of stern discipline, "woe betide you" admonitions and a bit of Irish humour in our Catholic elementary school.

As we completed our typical tasks of the school day, we were more than surprised by an unexpected knock on the classroom door by Principal Sister L. on November 22, 1963.

She explained that she had some serious news to tell us -- "The President has been shot." Into my 10-year old mind whirled pictures of a hunting accident. We were told to say some prayers for President Kennedy. We stood, took out our rosaries, and began the long intercession of prayers for his survival.

It wasn't long till we heard another knock on the classroom door. The Principal, with a bit of a quiver in her elderly voice, told us that President Kennedy had died. He had been killed by a gunshot from someone nearby.

Thoughts of an accidental shooting were erased by the introduction of a long-lettered new word into my vocabulary and that of my peers. Assassination was the multi-syllabled term that left its lasting impression on our young minds. It had as many "s" letters as Mississippi but would never become part of a child's rhyme like the name of that state. The assassination of President Kennedy was a tragedy that impacted everyone.

The next few days, all eyes were turned towards our American neighbour as that nation struggled to come to terms with what had happened to their leader.
In a pre-Internet/Twitter/Facebook era, citizens of the world looked to the print media and the television. We saw bold newspaper headlines and heard the grief and mourning of a  nation while our families and communities also mourned the loss of a man who had come to be a symbol of hope and promise, especially since the scary days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

It is five decades, now, since the tragedy. Still, the world is left with many questions about the event.
Most of all, we are left wondering, much like the 10-year old me who, sadly, learned a new vocabulary word on November 22, 2013.

Still, I wonder why?

In the spirit of today's vernacular,



Hannah said...

Such a great and personal account of that event, Patricia. Really love the tone and the portion of the intro to the word assassination. This really brings the point of view of the youth quite effectively.

I just found out today that C. S. Lewis also died on this day...never knew that before.

Happy weekend to you and thank you for visiting me...I appreciate your thoughts. :)

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

So glad you stopped by, Hannah! I realize that I am repeating my own words here but it is great to read your comments on this special post. I did try to keep the 10-year old me in mind.

Also, it was news to me about C.S. Lewis (thanks to Iain!); later that day, I also found that Aldous Huxley who wrote Brave New World died Nov.22, 1963, as well. Irony in life, for sure!

In case our blog paths do not cross before next Thursday, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :)