The Day They Shot John Kennedy
A Brief Comment by Doug Draper
Posted November 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large
It was Friday, November 22nd, 1963.
Virtually anyone over the age of 10 and living in the United States and Canada at that time would remember exactly where they were that day when they heard the news.
I was back in my Grade 7 class after the noon-hour break at the school I was attending in Welland when our gym teacher – normally a pretty tough and sturdy guy – peeked his head in the door, his eyes all wet, and told us we should go straight home because school was out for the day. “President Kennedy has been shot and killed,” he said.
And in a brief rain of bullets from one or more gunmen (and I still have a hard time believing the official line that only one person did it), all of the hope for what so many back then called “a bright and shining future” (however naïve that hope may have been) with the youthful energy of the Kennedys in the White House, was gone.
It would return from time to time with John Kennedy’s brother Bobby running for president until he was gunned down in 1968, with Jimmy Carter’s brief tenure in the White House in the late 1970s, and with the sudden rise, and first year or two of so of Barack Obama’s presidency.
On the Canadian side of the border, many of us experience a few brief years of hope at the federal level with Pierre Trudeau in the late 1960s, a briefer period of the same with his son Justin, and for the progressives among us, there was the brief rise of the late Jack Layton who, had he lived, may have been the first NDP leader to form a federal government.
But overall, governance on the American side of the border, at least, just got darker and darker. And look at the nightmare that the corrupt con man in the White House is putting the whole world through now.
How starved we are for a leader that can offer up hope for a bright and shining future again.
As singer/songwriter Dion DiMucci put it in a song a few years after those shots were fired in Dallas –
“Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
I just looked around and he’s gone”
Fifty six years ago this Friday, November 22nd.
Here is a short Youtube documentary, featuring now retired U.S. secret service agent Clint Hill, recalling what he witnessed while he was on detail in Dallas, Texas that day. You can watch it by clicking on the screen below.
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