The following is an excerpt from my very first WordPress blog… my memories of 53 November 22nds ago when, as a (then) 9-year-young boy, a national tragedy forced me to face down too much age inappropriate content… to grow up way too soon.
I voted for John F. Kennedy when I was ONLY six-years-old!
Well… uh… sort of. Here’s what had actually happened…
After Mom had closed the voting booth curtains, hoisted me up to adult eye level and demonstrated how everything worked, she actually let me shift JFK’s lever down! My having done something so grown-up on Election Day 1960 had been a feel good, defining moment in my young life.
As I grew physically, so did my understanding of (and respect for) the immense leverage, which each of those tiny levers can exert in shaping our nation and world. Tragically, not everyone opts in to such a civilized, orderly process. Such was the case on…
November 22, 1963 ~ It had been a gray, overcast, rainy Friday. There had been no school for Sis and me (due to parent / teacher conferences). I was just finishing lunch when my sibling came rushing into the dining room. Still clutching her pocket-sized transistor radio, she blurted out…
“Somebody Shot President Kennedy!” Mom, Sis and I quickly adjourned to the living room. Even before our Zenith TV’s B&W picture tube had fully warmed up, we could already hear one of CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite’s earliest bulletins.
As time came grinding down to a dead halt we felt ourselves rapidly descending into the depths of our nation’s communal shock. There was little else we could do… save for waiting and hoping that our worst fears would not be confirmed. But…
The bad news just kept on spilling forth from our nation’s TV screens while Kennedy’s dream for the betterment of our national / global society, was hemorrhaging forth from his head wounds… dying along with this great man. Eventually, Cronkite had to choke back his own overwhelming sorrow as he reported…
“From Dallas, Texas… the flash apparently official… President Kennedy died a 1 p.m., Central Standard Time… 2 o’clock Eastern Standard Time… some thirty-eight minutes ago.”
And that’s the way it was… the feel rotten, defining moment in my young life. The President I had “voted” for three short Novembers earlier had been blown away. Bullets… not ballots… had removed John Fitzgerald Kennedy from office and shot to hell my childhood innocence.
Up till then, TV had been a source of light entertainment… but… Cronkite’s pioneering venture into live, breaking news, non-stop coverage, reality TV… proved neither. Worse yet, one could never make the Kennedy Assassination “go away” by merely switching channels or by turning off the TV. Nothing could’ve ever changed that horrifying outcome… one which… even today… is perpetually, sending debilitating shockwaves outward from that Dealey Plaza Ground Zero… all across the space-time continuum.
Even now, more than half a century later, my vivid, as if they had just happened mere seconds ago, memories can and do cause tears to well up in my eyes.
For anyone, especially someone as young as I had been, learning to cope with these issues would not be getting any easier. Two days later, I was among millions of TV viewers who had become eyewitnesses to the live network broadcast of vigilante Jack Ruby gunning down alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
While some folks might applaud an-eye-for-an-eye “justice”… innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land and I, among many, believe Oswald should’ve had his day in court. We might’ve even discovered the answers to all the still lingering, unanswered questions.
Now, whether you had actually watched and “survived” all of that long ago bloodshed or have merely read about it in America’s history books… I’ll bet you, like I, have oft fantasized about traveling back into time to save the life… save the presidency of John F. Kennedy… and have also wondered… with a successful outcome… what would America be like today?
I now invite you to read about… or better yet… view here… a compelling, alternate reality to November 22nd… as presented by TV’s “The Twilight Zone”… the episode titled “Profile In Silver”. Observing actor Andrew Robinson’s performance… his so convincingly bringing JFK back to life… can and does evoke tears of joy.
ADDENDUM posted 12/07/16 10:10 a.m. to modify blog’s final paragraph / replace YouTuber’s removed “Twilight Zone” video.