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Man on the Street

By SHANNON WATKINS

shannon@southwesttimes.com

 

Sometimes the best news isn’t what people are doing in the community, but what they’re thinking. We again present a feature about just that, giving you their answers to a single question.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This week, in remembrance of his death, we focused on community members who recalled the tragedy.

Q: Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? What was your reaction? 

J. R. Schrader, retired editor of the Southwest Times: “I was working at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in the curing area. I was going to a building to check on rocket material in progress. Somebody came up and told me that it had happened. I guess I was stunned or shocked. I don’t really remember.”

John White, Town of Pulaski Director of Economic Development: “I was in the tenth grade at Pulaski High School and I heard about it during a class change. (I felt) horror. And I remember that in the next class I went into, they turned on the TV. My memory is they let out school after that. I actually heard that he was dead when I went down to the furniture store where my mom worked.”

Dale Reece, retired DMV manager: “I was in fifth grade at Newbern Elementary. I remember our teacher, Miss Higginbotham. She walked into the room in tears. That’s what stuck in my mind. She was a pretty stern lady. She announced it to us. I probably just didn’t understand at the time how something like that could happen.”

Thomas Rupe, retired mill worker: “I was at Pulaski Furniture Company, operating a machine. I was sad.”

Susan Carter, publisher of the Southwest Times: “I was 10 years old, in the fourth grade in Marion, Ohio. The school sent us home, and when I got there, my mom was sitting in a chair crying, and that’s when I knew it was serious. It scared me that they were making us all go home, because these were the years when they gave us nuclear attack drills. It was the first time we realized something could happen to the president.”

Shirley Crisp, retired CNA: “I was in Washington D.C. I was pregnant at the time. When I heard the news, I was devastated. My first thought when the news he was shot came through was, ‘Please, Lord, don’t let him die.’ We just loved President Kennedy. We loved him and his wife and his kids. He was a wonderful person. He helped so many people. I still can’t believe he’s gone.”

Billy Kelly, retired insurance worker: “I was going to Peoples Drug Store and my wife and one of my kids was with me. Walter Cronkite came on and said Kennedy was dead. I was shocked. I thought, ‘It must be a mistake.’ I couldn’t believe it, not in this country. I was sort of heartbroken. He was popular and I couldn’t believe it, not here.”

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