Friday, November 22, 2013

End of Innocence

I was 7 years old sitting in the classroom when the announcement came over the loud speaker for everyone to report to the school auditorium.  We all whispered with curiosity as the teacher paraded us single file down the hallway.  I remember fidgeting in my seat, anxious to hear what all the excitement was about.  I tried to look around and see where my little brother was sitting but I couldn’t find him. 

As the principal walked onto the stage it was clear that something was wrong and I began to feel uneasy.  We had been practicing duck and cover bomb drills in our class and it crossed my mind that maybe we were being attacked.  Then she said, “The President, President Kennedy has been shot and has died”.  There was a lot of commotion and not a lot of detail, I’m sure she knew it was too much for young children to digest.  We were sent home for the day so we could be with our parents.

The walk home was surreal, I didn’t understand the vulnerability I felt or why this scared me so much.  All I remember thinking was if someone could kill the President of the United States they could kill anyone, even 2 young kids walking home from school. 

In the days and weeks that followed it became very clear that this was a tremendous and unimaginable tragedy for people all over the world.  Looking back over the past 50 years I don’t know what might have been but I do know that for me it was the end of innocence. 

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