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On This Day.

On this the commemoration of the Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy I remember where I was exactly. What building I was in. What room I was in. What seat I was sitting in. I was in St. Anthony’s School, sitting right next to me was Linda White. Right in front of me was Steve Scholtz. I was in an all Catholic grade school. And for Catholics around the country at the time the election of the first Catholic president was a big thing. For me it was something of a dream. I was thirteen at the time and the election of John Kennedy was a topic of discussion in our house. Having devout Catholic parents who were raising a new, large, family they were looking for the new president to solve many of the current ills of the country most of which were racial discrimination (it was the 60’s) and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. John Kennedy had a prominent place on the walls of our house. I, as a young, potentially rebellious kid, idolized him. And then the tragedy struck. In my class the nuns ran a tight ship. It was not lets say “light hearted” at most times during the day. So when the good sisters would leave the room I took it upon my self to stand up, and lighten the daily load of guilt, grief, and catholic presence. I’d tell some jokes. As my back was to the door, I didn’t notice Sister Mary Romantice comin’ in to the room, tell me to sit down, and for the first time not striking me about the neck and hands, telling me that the President had been shot. The next three days were spent crying, watching the tragedy unfold on tv for hours on end (which was unheard of at the time because television news had not yet come into it’s own) and feeling the dream of a generation slowly slip away. The Dream of a Country actually. After John Kennedy was laid to rest. Nothing seemed the same. Nothing has been the same since.

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