Monday, November 22, 2010

I saw President John F. Kennedy assassinated on this day in 1963. I worked on the fifth floor in the building east of the Texas Book Depository where supposedly the shot was fired from. Myself and my office staff was lined up at the window with an unobstructed view of the parade.

We heard the shot, it sounded like a car backfiring and then Jackie started trying to climb out the back of the car. She was wearing a bright pink pillbox hat and suit and from our vantage point we could see all of the confusion with the secret service trying to push her down and the car speeding away.
I didn't know anything to speak of about politics. I was a cynic about the process of politics, having been involved in a campaign for Governor Huey Long of Louisiana. That's a story for another day.
My unvarnished reaction:
I turned away from the window and headed back to my office with all the staff yelling the President has been shot. My comment was, these people will do anything to get elected. Even fake a shooting.
I wasn't devastated at the news, at the time I wasn't too concerned with politics.
The person I was dating who later became my husband had been invited to the big whohah party for President Kennedy and Governor Connelly. When the announcement came that the President was dead my first thought wasn't about how it would affect a nation. It was I would not be going to a party and wouldn't get to wear a new black ribbon knit dress with the matching coat trimmed in black mink. I had my hair in a French twist and thought I was going to be the hottie of the evening.
As the weekend progressed and every television station counted and recounted the event, it began to sink in on how the nation and the direction of domestic and foreign policy would be effected. Like many others I stayed glued to the news and watched every aspect of the assassination, the swearing in of President Lyndon Johnson and the funeral.
The city was like the Twilight Zone, no cars on the streets, stores and restaurants empty. It was this way for the entire week-end.
When my 16 year old grandson Gavin was about 9-10 I took him to the Texas Book Depository which is now a museum and was explaining to him how his Nana had actually seen the assassination of President Kennedy. He said President Kennedy is the only President that was assassinated wasn't he? I said no President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth when he was at the theater..He asked me Did you see that one to? No that was way before my time..