I was four years old and change on the day that JFK died.
I vividly remember that moment, when we first heard that our president had been shot.
My mother was pulling into the driveway of our house in our baby-blue Rambler station wagon. We’d been out doing errands. My three siblings were all at school. (That’s why I was “riding shotgun” that day. Where did that phrase come from?)
I was chattering away happily with my three little brothers. Suddenly, we were “shushed,” and a man’s voice on the radio repeated the horrific words. I watched my mother’s face. She looked shocked, stunned and sadder than I’d ever seen her before. That day, I added a new word to my vocabulary – “assassination.”
Just the other day, I was watching a news story about that horrible day. When the footage ran of Lee Harvey Oswald getting shot on live television, it transported me right back.
I remember my mother’s gasp. I remember staring, transfixed. The president had been murdered, now his murderer had been murdered. I remember a palpable feeling of fear washing over me.
(Welcome to the 1960s, little one. This is just the beginning.)