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Thread: The Where Were You When Kennedy Was Shot Thread

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio

    The Where Were You When Kennedy Was Shot Thread

    Most non-geek and somewhat sane folks can remember what they were doing when a big historical event happened. Cyburbians do, too.

    I was a sophomore in high school. The announcement came over the PA system that President Kennedy was shot. The teacher who was in charge of the study hall I was sitting in said, "Good." They let us out of school early and most of the girls on the bus were crying.

    I went to Findlay, OH, on a blind date. On the way back to Toledo, the high-beam light switch located on my floor of my 1962 Plymouth Valiant started on fire. I had to pull into a gas station in North Baltimore, OH, and heard the announcement about the shooting of Martin Luther King. Strange coincidence.....the girl who set me up for this blind date was in Memphis, marching with the garbage workers who were on strike.

    I was working at a lumber yard, often into the late night, because during the day I was going to school. I heard the news while listening to the radio while stacking lumber.

    I was in my office and my wife called and asked if I heard about the plane that hit one (1) of the Twin Towers. As she was talking, the second plane hit the second tower.

    Bear Not Gump

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
    Oct 2003
    In Wasteland of Cedar Trees
    Well, I wasn't even alive for any of those "remember where you were" moments except for the last one.

    When 9/11 occurred, I actually didn't know about it until a little after noontime. I actually remember the day quite well. I left my apartment just moments before 8am because I wanted to go for a nice stroll from my apartment to the university campus, which was a 12-15 minutes walk. Once, I arrived at the campus, I decided to go to a library and go ahead with my readings in a correspondence course that I was taking. I stayed there from 8:15 to about noon. I then left the library and walked up Alfred Street with the intention of going to someone's house to see if I wanted to buy her now second-hand textbook for a statistics course. On my way up there, I was stopped by a friend who I haven't seen for the entire summer. So I went into his house. After asking the usual questions (How was your summer? What did you do? etc.), he asked me, "Did you hear?" I replied, "did I hear what?" So he turned on the tv. All I remember was the CNN station being on with the bars on the top and the bottom of the screen with a video clip of one of the tower being photographed. I immediately thought of how it looked like a scene from a movie (perhaps Independence Day?) and couldn't follow the conversation from the tv because there was no closed captioning on. Then, my friend turned the tv off and said, isn't it crazy? I merely shrugged. He didn't explained what happened other than saying that his dad called him to turn the tv on. Then we went on with mundane conversations. From there, I went to this house to see the textbook and decided not to buy it. Then, I walked back to the campus, enjoying the nice day as it was clear, sunny, and warm.

    And now I think of it, the streets were rather quiet considering that it was only the second day of school, when the streets around the university are full of noises, music, beer, and students. But, hey, it was my first year of not being a first year student...so I didn't know better.

    I hid back in the library and keep reading on for this correspondence course in Canadian history. I did so until I was to go to another building to attend my first class of the day. It wasn't until then I learned what was going on in the States from another student who I had just met over the summer. She tried to explain quickly before the professor of the course started his first class (it was Economic Geography) with us. He started off by saying that it wasn't a great day to start a first class with us or something like that. I do remember him saying that one of his colleague, who taught geography at an American university, died because he was on one of the three flights.

    From there, it was a blur. Until dinner time, when I returned back to my apartment after my first class in economic geography, I turned on the tv and tried to understand what was going on. I remember my parents telling me over the phone that the world has changed. I asked how? They didn't know how, but they had a definite belief in that statement. I was so out of it or else not realizing the significance of this event that I didn't bother watching tv. The next thing is I remember complaining how a certain tv station isn't playing the series finale of a television show that I followed religiously. Boy, was I ever upset that the tv station decided not to re-air that episode. So, I never saw this series finale because of 9/11.

    Now I look back to it, I realize how important of the day September 11th, 2001, was and is. To think of it, I've matured quite a bit since then.

    And by the way, I only have to wait until early 2005 when the DVD set that has the 'cancelled' series finale show comes out!

    And, I do have another "Do you remember where you were" moment, the Blackout of August 2003, that could be added to Bear's list.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    I don't remember JFK or MLK, but I remember Bobby Kennedy. I walked into our living room where I our only t.v. (yeah, in the '60's that was normal) was located and my older sister told me he had been shot. I guess I was 11 or 12 at the time.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    May 2003
    City of Low Low Wages!
    I remember being in school and talking about the teacher who'd been killed in Challenger. I was very young then (about 5 years old).

    I was living in a dorm at UIC on 9/11. I had late classes so I didn't get up until ten or so. I sat down at my computer and saw someone say "the WTC tower has collapsed" or something like that. It seemed really cryptic. Then my mom called and told me what happened. I thought it was like 1991. I remember saying "well, I don't think I should get a job in the world trade center." It hadn't really sunk in that it was gone yet.

    Then I went to a friend's room and watched the coverage. They hadn't cancelled classes yet, so I packed up to go to class, as I was at a loss as to what to do. I lived on a different campus from where my class was, so I got on the school shuttle bus. Traffic was horrible. The radio was asking people not to take transit because they were using the system to evacuate downtown. There were cops and fire trucks everywhere. Someone said he heard that there was a plane headed for the Sears Tower. We all thought we were going to be attacked and everyone was scared.

    After that, the attack was the only thing anyone ever spoke about for about a month. Everywhere I went, I could hear people talking about it. There was never any doubt that the world had changed. Nobody even had to say that here, everyone just knew it. We'd moved onto how it would change.

    I wrote this late that day for an online forum (I didn't know I still had it):

    I am a student of Computer Science at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Today, my life, as well as the lives of most young people on the planet, has changed forever. Today we witnessed the event the will be the landmark of our generation. September 11, 2001 will ``go down in infamy'' as one great
    president put it, along with December 7, 1941; Nov. 22, 1963; and January 28, 1986.

    Emotions are high, nobody knows what to think. Some are shocked, many angry. The American President has announced that those responsible will be brought to justice. United States Senator John McCain has called this event an act of war and claimed that our lives will be disrupted by the actions that will have to be taken in the near future. The US military is on alert. The border with Mexico has been sealed. Some feel that we are on the eve of war.

    Not far from where I am, the airport that was once the busiest on the planet is now a ghost town. No commercial plane is currently in the air over the United States. Washington has been evacuated, and the President is in a bunker on an Air Force base in the middle of the country. Already, our free society is being cited as to blame. With many borders wide open, and information freely moving in and out of the country, people no longer feel safe in their own towns or cities.

    I don't know how I feel about war, even though I am a prime draft candidate. This was an event which is more than warrants such a harsh reaction. Whatever happens, the United States must carry itself as the champion of freedom that it claims it is. Everything we do in the coming months and years must be carefully thought out with an understanding that the consequences of those actions will live with us for a very long time.

    We have, in the Free Software Community, been fighting for more freedom of information for many years. Current attacks against have focused on economic gains. People were fooled into believing that restrictions on freedom like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act would improve the economy. It was argued that the forfeit of freedoms was necessary for our financial well being. This argument was depressingly successful.

    Currently, that law is in effect with devastating consequences. People are being sued for posting links, web sites are being taken down without cause, and a programmer is now facing 25 years in prison on a felony charge for writing a simple program. New laws are being pushed through the legislature that make the DMCA look benign.

    The argument that national security requires us to deal with restrictions on our freedom and invasions of our privacy has been on the run, however. Despite the wishes of the NSA, encryption export restrictions have been slowly relaxed. Carnivore is being met with considerable resistance by the public and in Congress. The NSA and FBI have continuously complained about the reduction in the amount of information they can get on average Americans.

    With the hijacking of four aircraft and the loss of countless lives which has occurred on this dark day, those complaints may well be heeded. Suddenly,
    national defense will become a very viable and palpable argument once again. The twin towers of the World Trade Center has come crashing to the ground. I fear that a similar fate awaits all our progress towards information freedom.

    When the intelligence organizations ask for more powers, we must resist. When the borders are closed, we must insist that they be reopened. When encryption technologies come under assault, when the basic ability by ordinary citizens to enforce their privacy in the Digital Millennium is called into question, we must sand up and confidently and tirelessly defend that ability.

    The fight we have before us will not be easy. This nation is under assault by terrorists, that much is clear, but it is also clear that the principles on which this nation was founded will be under assault by our own fear. We must balance the necessity to defended ourselves with the importance of retaining our freedom. This will require unprecedented involvement in our government by my generation.

    We can not continue the apolitical, disinterested lives of our parents, the lives most of us have lived until this day. Every person reading this, both young and old, Americans and citizens of other countries, must take an active roll in their respective government. Every single decision made by our leaders in needs to be analyzed, researched, and judged by the citizenry. The time to be naive and complacent is over. Today, everything has changed, and so too must our political attitudes change to deal with new threats on our lives --- and more importantly, our liberty.

    President Bush said that, ``Freedom has been attacked today by a faceless cowered, and freedom will be defended.'' I hope to god that he is right.
    Last edited by jordanb; 17 Oct 2004 at 12:27 AM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    I do not remember John Kennedy or Martin Luther King - they were before my time. I have vague recollections about Robert Kennedy, as I was only 4 or 5 at the time. As a catholic kid, of course I remember the popes dying when I was in grade school.

    September 11 I came into the office, turned on the computer, and noticed a Yahoo headline that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. I figured it was something like a Cessna and didn't bother to read the article. That would have been minutes after it happened. I walked over to city hall for a staff meeting and there ran into the public works director, who, obviously flustered, said that a second plane had just crashed into the second tower. I then learned that these were commercial jets. It bacame apparent what was happening.

    The state government shut its doors. Several of the cities around us closed their offices that day. We remained open, and in retrospect, that was the right thing to do. People needed to see calmness. They needed stability. Seeing everything closed only reinforced the fear and uneasiness they felt.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  6. #6
    I was napping that fateful day in 1963. I was the same age as John-John and *remember* him saluting his dad's casket during the funeral.

    RFK was murdered on the west coast late at night, so I am sure I was sleeping. I do not recall learning of the event. I do not remember the assasination of Dr. King, but I was preparing for a little league game when the assasination attempt was made on Wallace. I was in school when squeaky tried to off President Ford.

    I drove up to Washington Rock (JNA??) to see NYC when the lights went out in the great blackout.

    I was working for a mover when the Challenger exploded. The homeowner walked through the room where I was packing and told me about it non-chalantly. I was dumbfounded that she seemed so callous. Moving is stressful, I guess.

    I was at a budget hearing the night of 9-10-01 and so came to work late Tuesday morning. When I arrived a secretary told me a plane had crashed into the tower. Like Cardinal, I supposed it was a small plane and mentioned a B-17 once flying into the Empire State. I walked down the hall to my office and people were running to the Mayor's office to look at her TV. I saw the first replay of the second plane hitting and was shaken. I went to my office and called Mrs. G and she said "Yeah, right". I told her to put on the tv and she called me back to ask whether we should go get the kids. We didn't and the office stayed open, although we let many non-essential employees go home.

    I truly hope this is the last such time we have a watershed moment such as these, but I know better.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  7. #7
    Jan 2003
    Santiago, Chile
    Where was I when Kennedy was shot? Condisering I was -21 years old ("older" than now ) I can't say much. (Heck my mom was 6 yr old when that happened)

    9-11... I heard about it during a break while we were doing a psycological and vocational test... As you can imagine everybody was somewhat shocked (even here)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    I drove up to Washington Rock (JNA??) to see NYC when the lights went out in the great blackout.
    I truly hope this is the last such time we have a watershed moment such as these, but I know better.
    1st - I dont't really remember the great blackout (in the 60's), the recent one I am in Indiana and abit worried that it was going to cascade into our region.

    My prefered vantage point to remember the WT was the Springfield Road overpass on Rt 22 and many years before it was the up at the water tank in the Watchung Reservation.

    2nd - Whole heartedly agree.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Tri-Cities, Washington
    Blog entries
    I was not alive when JFK, MLK, RFk were shot, but I would probably remeber exactly where I was.

    My mom was growning up in Memphis when MLK was shot. I should ask her where she was....

    As for 9/11 I was drving to classes in college, listening to the radio when they were talking about a plane crashing into the WTC, I thought they were talking about some new movie, but when they switched to simulcast with the newsradio AM station I knew something was wrong. I turned aournd and watched everything at a friend's house.

    I do remember the Columbine shootings as they were 15 mins. from my school. They didn;t let us out (for obvious reasons) but they had CNN in every classroom tuned in and we watched.... it was a sad day as Columbine was our rivals in sports, but a lot of kids knew people there. It could have also happen to us, as I went to a very good, but hated school in Denver and well... it could happen anywhere. My relatives from all over the country called as they didn;t know what school I went to. But it was scary because that couldv'e been us. Also a bad month for the Z Man for other reasons....
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone

  10. #10
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
    Nov 2003
    at Babies R Us or Home Depot

    I was at a meeting and a training at our other complex. The State Police who we were meeting with, suddenly rushed out of the room. I went to my friends' house,nearby. I knew they weren't going to work. They work for defense contractors.

    Blackout 2003

    I was driving to Charleston, SC to take my sister to college for the first time. I was so exhausted after the 10 hour drive, that I just collapsed on the hotel bed. My sister was watching CNN, and mentioned something, while I was half-asleep. They were showing footage from Manhattan. I think I mumbled 'typical' and fell back asleep. I didn't understand the magnitude until the next day.

  11. #11

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    I remember the shock at Pershing Elementary when JFK was shot, and some of the TV coverage. I don't remember much about RFK's assasination, or MLK's, it seemed to flow into all of the angst about Viet Nam and the draft that someone who was 16 would be feeling in those days. In fact, as I remember 1968, it seems as if everything was in flux.

    As for 9/11, Karen and I had just moved into our house in Colorado and were busy cleaning up a small portion of the incredible mess the former inhabitants had left behind. For some reason, however, I had to call the Sonoran Institute HQ, and the secretary there told us to turn on the TV. We had just hooked up the dish a day or two before, so we watched the replays of the towers falling. I have to confess that my first thought was, "so W's presidency is saved from the mediocrity it would otherwise have been." I guess that's pretty cynical, but other than its magnitude, the attack was no surprise to me. I guess Kerry is getting beat up for saying much the same thing, but it actually makes me feel a bit better about having to vote for him. We need leaders who understand the big picture and who can be detached from the immediate chaos.

  12. #12
    Jun 2004
    Dennis, MA
    JFK - Watching Captain Kangaroo while my mom ironed in the room when the news came on about Kennedy.

    Do not remember MLK or RFK.

    Remember Kent State (5-4-70) because we lived in Western MA and had the five colleges (Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Amherst, Hampshire and UMass) surrounding us. Some local roads were closed for days after that.

    9-11 Heard about it as I arrived at work. Turned on a radio in the office, called my wife who was in a real estate seminar and her parents who had not heard about it. Town hall stayed open all day, but little was accomplished.

    While not to downplay the other events, Kent State had a greater impact on me than the others because we waged war on ourselves and our future on that day.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
    Oct 2002
    Under the Table
    Blog entries
    Born after JFK...don't remember the others...but I do remember distinctively when the first space shuttle blew up. I was in design studio in college... we were all listening to the radio. Seemed to be a real turning point... in what seemed an area that the USA was so successful.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001
    I wasn't born yet when either Kennedy was killed, so no comment there. Most of the significant events in my life that I recall are major earthquakes or a few major events. I remember being in Chemistry class when Challenger exploded. We were watching it live on t.v. since it was a big deal for a civilian to be on board.

    For 9/11, the clock radio went off in the morning and I had it set to Howard Stern (it was the only program I hated enough to actually get out of bed to turn it off)... and BME called me shortly after but he didn't really know yet. I knew something was going down (I actually thought that we had somehow gone to war or another one of our embassies were attacked). I got into the car that morning and I heard the news driving to, ironically enough, my first counselling appointment through EAP. Most of the first session the counsellor and I sat there in shock talking about how it made us feel. I guess it was good to talk to someone right when it was going on.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
    May 2002
    On the corner of Walk and Don't Walk
    Neat thread. These are the ones I remember:

    Reagan being shot: I was in 6th grade and right after school is when we started hearing something. A lot of sketchy info as I recall. You'd say "the President got shot" and somebody else would say "No, it was the press secretary". As it turned out eveyone was right.

    The Pope being shot: I was on vacation with my family on Sanibel Island, Florida. There was a tv channel that was Reuters News that was nothing but scrolling print news. That's how we found out about it first. I was eleven and remember being so shocked that somebody would want to kill the Pope.

    Challenger explosion: 10th grade. I was standing in line for lunch when we started hearing whispers that something had gone wrong. Once we got to the next class the principal came on the PA and told us officially. We watched the coverage on tv the rest of the day.

    9-11: I was just off the Baltimore Beltway at a Smart Growth training seminar at the Maritime Institute for Training and Graduate Studies when someone came in late and said planes had hit the Pentagon and the WTC. There were a lot of different classes there that day but we all went to the auditorium and watched the whole thing on a movie screen. I'll never forget seeing the towers come down on a screen that big. Since there were people there from all over the state they sent us home. It was very eerie driving west on I-70 listening to the radio. Nobody knew where the fourth plane was and you could see everyone looking at the sky every few seconds.
    He's a planner, he's a dreamer, he's a sordid little schemer,
    Seems to think that money grows on trees . . .

  16. #16
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
    Jul 2003
    Down by Dun Ringill
    Blog entries
    Let me see

    When JFK was shot I was in first grade. What I really remmber was several days after, the cemetary near the school had a ceremony for the fallen president and they fired a 21-gun salute.

    I recall seeing footage of RFK's asassination, probably the day after. Don't recall Martin Luther King's death.

    I recall being in the drive-up line of a Wendy's in Mandeville, Louisiana when the Challenger was launched and exploded. When McVey blew up the federal building in Okalhoma City I was working in a Wendy's and a cusotmer gave us the news.

    Remember Richard Nixon's resignation speech.

    9/11 - I was coming into work and someone mentioned it in the lobby. One of my coworkers set up a TV in a conference room and we all watched off and on throughout most of the day.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

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