The JFK assassination: A 7-year-old’s glimpse into history and the lingering...

The JFK assassination: A 7-year-old’s glimpse into history and the lingering fog of grief

President John F. Kennedy's motorcade in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Photo by Victor Hugo King/Public domain
By Bill Landon

On Nov. 22, 1963, I was a 7-year-old who had convinced my mother that I didn’t feel well enough to go to school that day. It was the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Not long after lunch, the TV began interrupting the regularly scheduled programs with news of a shooting in Dallas. No matter what channel I turned to — there were only 12 back then — it was the same. President John F. Kennedy (D) had been shot.

Later in the afternoon, my mother was talking with many people on the phone. As a 7-year-old, I didn’t understand what was happening other than my mother growing more hysterical as the day wore on. I faintly remember my older sister coming home from school early, but I still didn’t understand what was happening.

There was a palpable fog that hung over us that would just get worse two days later when we watched Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoot and kill Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, on live television.

I don’t remember anything about our traditional Thanksgiving dinner that year, but I remember the fog lasting for weeks.

Bill Landon is a sportswriter and photographer for TBR News Media.


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