Monday, November 22, 2010

Texas Tidbits: Forty-Seven Years Ago in Dallas...

The 35th President of the United States
Today is one of those dates that when something historic happens, you recall exactly where you were and what you were doing. On November 22, 1963, I was in first grade at Springdale Elementary School in Fort Worth, Mrs. Gill's class. The school is about 32 miles from where the tragedy took place in downtown Dallas. Dallas, Texas, the United States and the world changed forever on that sunny November afternoon 47 years ago. It's a time so long ago, but it is still fresh in our minds, like it happened yesterday.

A young, dynamic President died that day and America, with echoes of I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver ringing in our ears, lost her innocence and the city of Dallas would, for decades, be known as "that place where President Kennedy was killed". Thankfully, Big D would become one of the biggest cities in the country, home to Fortune 500 companies and as well-known for the Dallas Cowboys as it was as "that place where President Kennedy was killed". But the thing that made this horrible incident resonate so loudly with the American people was that it was immediately brought into our living rooms by a still-young medium called television. Never before in our nation's history had a history-making event been brought straight into our living rooms. We could actually see Dealey Plaza and Parkland Hospital, where the President was declared dead. We could see the pink dress the First Lady was wearing, her husband's blood splattered all over it. These images allowed us all to "be there" as events unfolded around the assassination. Two days later, as the nation and the world watched, Jack Ruby mortally wounded the President's accused killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, on live TV. It was almost surreal. Can this be happening before our very eyes? Or is it a horrible nightmare from which we would awake and everything would be fine?

Years later, I met a man we'll call Bill. Bill was the man who took his neighbor to work on November 22, 1963. That neighbor was carrying a package with him as he got into Bill's car. He said it was curtain rods. The neighbor's name? Lee Harvey Oswald. My friend, Bill, was an unwitting accomplice to history. I knew Bill for many years before moving out of the Metroplex and he never mentioned that day to me. I found out about it through one of Bill's family members, who is still a close friend of mine.

I forgot to mention earlier that my Mom and two sisters were shopping near downtown Fort Worth the day of the assassination and the were amongst hundreds of people who watched the Presidential motorcade as it headed out of Fort Worth after President Kennedy's speech to some group or another. I don't even know if either of them even remember this or not.

Those are my thoughts about November 22, 1963. Please share yours with us in the comments. We'd love to hear from you.

***Thanks for the linkage to The Blogmocray!***

***I deliberately did not link to any video or photographs of the killing of President Kennedy. We've seen them all ad nauseam.***

Copyright ©

All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker