Posted by: SJS | November 21, 2019

November 22, 1963

JFK on PT 109

On Friday, November 22nd, 1963,  President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  On that day, 56 years ago, I was a 7th grader in Philadelphia.  I distinctly remember the feeling that history was no longer a subject that was confined to textbooks or television documentaries– I was watching it unfold before my eyes.  History, I began to discover on that day, is a fast moving stream that carries all of us along with it.  My teenage years were marked by other high profile assassinations, the deepening of the Cold War, the raging war in Vietnam, and the courageous achievements of the Civil Rights Movement.  And lots more history besides.

While JFK was far from a perfect human being, he served our nation honorably as a Navy officer in World War II and then as an elected member of the House of Representatives and the Senate representing the people of Massachusetts before running for president.  His youthful energy and expansive vision for our country led to accomplishments as varied as landing a man on the moon and the establishment of the Peace Corps.  And lots more historical accomplishments besides those.

I’ll never forget how my life changed on that tragic day 56 years ago–the day I realized that I was living in historic times.  And the history continues to unfold.

Best wishes to all for a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving.


  1. I was in 8th grade study hall when the announcement came over the loud speaker. I got upset (of course), but not because it was JFK, but because something like that could happen right here in America. I think everyone our age remembers where they were that day.

  2. Thanks, GP. My experience ran parallel to yours. It was a shock to me that something like this could happen in America in 1963. On September 11th in 2001, I remember having a lot of similar feelings. S

  3. Excellent post. You describe history perfectly. Happy Thanksgiving!

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