There is quite a lot of talk leading up to Friday, November 22, 2013 as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Many news outlets are asking, "What do you remember of that day?" and I realized that most of the readers of this blog were likely not even born then. I can tell what I remember as a very small child.
I was with my mother in the town general mercantile store. (I know, it sounds very old-timey but we lived in a company town and they owned a large store that housed a combo Macy's with a supermarket.) It had a large open floor plan and you could look up and see shoppers on the second floor. It was a beehive of activity and sounded that way all the time.
It was odd that I was with my mother - she worked full-time as a nurse - but I was. (I was not in school as I was a kindergarten drop-out. Mom sent me to a Catholic school and a nun hit me on the hand with a ruler and I refused to go back. Mom didn't argue the point as she never hit me.)
I just remember how there was some announcement over the loudspeaker and then it was so quiet. I could hear ladies sobbing and my mother was teary-eyed. We went home.
I remember a couple of days later on tv., watching the funeral procession and how much I liked seeing all those black horses. I wondered about the little girl standing next to her mother and the little boy who saluted. I didn't really know who there were until much later. I cannot see that footage today without crying.
You may not have lived through the JFK assassination but you did live through 9/11.
I urge you to write down what you remember that day if only for your own family history. Ask your children if they are old enough to remember. It is a valuable piece of history to have these remembrances. TLC has shown, "Letters to Jackie", a documentary based on the book about many of the letters that ordinary citizens wrote to Mrs. Kennedy after her husband's death. It is quite moving and show that everyday stories do matter.
Also, here's a conversation starter for your next dinner party - if they had lived - JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr. or Malcolm X - who would have made the biggest impact? I suspect MLK, Jr. because of his ability to get people to listen and to move people to action. It's probably not really helpful to think about "what if" but you do sometimes wonder, given the leaders we have today.