A Blessed Life (16)
Friday afternoons during my senior year found me thinking about the three o’clock bell beckoning the end of another week of school. It was around two o’clock on Friday, November 22, 1963, that our sixth period class was interrupted by an announcement over the intercom. The principal solemnly announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. On that particular Friday our senior class joined the rest of the nation in a unified sense of shock. Perhaps he had only been wounded, or there was a big mistake concerning the report. But no, President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.
I drove home immediately after school. Mom and Dad were at the barn stripping tobacco. They had not heard, so I became the bearer of the bad news that was still so hard to believe. There were no twenty four hour news networks, and we received only three channels; but for the next few days our three stations broadcast full time news. The coverage of course concerned the assassination, with details about a Texas bookstore, a movie theater, and the search for a misfit named Lee Harvey Oswald. None of us could have imagined all the conspiracy theories that would unfold in subsequent years. Ours was a more innocent age. To us a beloved president had been brutally killed, leaving behind a grieving young widow and mother.
We watched the news on Saturday and went to church Sunday morning. After church we went to my Grandmother Padgett’s for lunch. We turned on the T.V. just as Oswald was being transferred from jail. Suddenly before us on the screen we saw and heard the shots fired by Jack Ruby that killed Lee Harvey Oswald.
I look back on those days with a sense of loss. That tragic event marked not only the loss of a president, but the ending of an era of civility and innocence. The world as we had known it was changing, and not for the better. Through the years I have come to see more clearly that times change and culture changes. It has been most assuring to see that in the midst of ever changing times there is One who is changeless and timeless.
– Terry A. Morrison