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November 22, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) 49 years ago today, November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.


I was a 15  year old sophomore at Young High School here in Knoxville.

During my geography class, John Hicks, our principal, came on the intercom. While I do not remember his exact words, I know he announced that President Kennedy had been shot.

Mr. Hicks then turned the intercom to radio & we listened to the news reports from Dallas. 

Everyone, including our teacher, was in a state of shock.  Not one word was spoken.  

There had not been a Presidential assassination since William McKinley in 1901 & the last unsuccessful attempt on President Truman happened when we were 2 years old.

My generation grew up in a state of innocence.  We, as well as many of our parents, could not believe this could happen in our country.

At some point, Mr. Hicks told us that he would leave the radio on & we would stay in our 6th period class until the end of the school day.

When the announcement came over the radio that President Kennedy had died, Mr. Hicks came back on.

Every morning at Young, we all stood to attention as the school bugle corps played “Reveille” as the American flag was raised to full staff.

Now, Mr. Hicks asked his faculty & students to stand at attention as the bugle corps played “Taps” & the flag was lowered to half-staff.

Other than the loss of friends & relatives, this day was the saddest of my life.

JFK was my hero as he was a hero to many Americans & to many people around the world.

The moment that we learned our hero, who was the youngest elected President of the United States,  was murdered was one that none of us would ever forget.

We all remember to the detail where we were & what we were doing when we heard the news.

JFK inspired me as our President, & continues to inspire me 49 years after his death.*

*When my Dad came home from work late that night, he had with him the final edition of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Nov 22, 1963.  The big black bold headline was…





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