The playbacks clearly showed he was nearly scalped by the blast. I was eight, and I loved the man who was declared dead before his time.
Flashing back six months prior to the event, I idolized JFK. I wore my Scots-Irish blond hair like him, my clothes and my swagger definitely in his style. I wanted to be just like him!
My parents obliged me as they thought I had chosen a good role model, so my mother took mental note of JFK’s casual attire and outfitted my closet accordingly. I wasn’t as interested in policy as much as how charismatic and commanding JFK was. He was cool!
My father, an offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49er’s in their early years made sure my room was 49er from stem to stern, but a picture of my John Fitzgerald Kennedy would bless the 49er wallpaper!
The black and white television with it’s crackling tubes and lazy vertical roll was on and I was home sick from school with a flu, lying on our plastic covered couch wrapped in a blanket.
I watched my hero wave and smile…I saw the ticker tape floating in the air, the crowds cheering, hands waving at all points of the route. I was in my glory, even though my tummy was not handling my flue well.
The black and white TV did it’s usual blink, stutter and stammer as the picture switched over to the news bulletin. It was clear that something had gone horribly wrong. The news reporter had a difficult time announcing the tragedy seeming not clear himself on the actual occurrence.
“President Kennedy has been shot”, quickly morphed into “The President is dead.”
When a semblance of reality sank in, I wept inconsolably. The only man I loved and adored other than my father and grandfather was shot dead in cold blood.
Men in dark suits ran to and fro, it seemed chaos ruled the minutes. Still struggling to fully grasp that I would never again see him, for weeks I would break down and cry at odd times in a day when something reminded me of JFK.
He was young and still a little green at the job, but he showed he wasn’t afraid of anything at all. He stood up to what we now call terrorists and haters of democracy, and didn’t seem to hesitate to put that dimpled chin right out there for anyone opposing him to take a poke.
Television would change the face of politics forever as we see and judge on looks rather than the experience and ability of a candidate. JFK hooked us though, he had it all.
JFK is gone forever but never to be forgotten by those who loved him.