Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Were You on 11/22/63? The JFK Oral History Project

CLICK HERE for an update on the Sixth Floor Summit.

(co-written with Andrew Kadin)

Update: Shortly after this blog was posted, Andy and I were contacted by a representative of the JFK Oral History Project who invited us to Dallas to be interviewed and have our story recorded on video. Details to follow, once arrangements have been finalized.

Anyone old enough to remember can recall where they were on November 22, 1963 when they heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Mine is a story of a childhood memory, a lifelong interest, and the reuniting of two boyhood pals.

On November 22, 1963, I was in the second grade at St Francis School in Ridgefield Park, NJ. It was a Friday afternoon. I remember a kid coming into the classroom and handing the teacher a piece of paper. The teacher told us the President had been shot, then made us say a prayer, then sent us home. I went home and my mother was crying. What I remember the most about that day and the next three days was that time stood still for those three days. Everything was closed. No store would dare be open, not in the Irish-Catholic town I lived in.

Meanwhile, in Bridgeport, CT, a few years before moving back to New Jersey , Andrew Kadin was a second grader. Says Andy:

I was 2 months past my seventh birthday and I was home from school sick on Friday, November 22, 1963. I remember lying on the couch in the living room in my pajamas watching some sort of ghost-comedy movie ("Topper"?) when the FlashBulletin screen appeared on the TV.

I vividly remember the announcer saying that shots were fired at the President's motorcade in Dallas but that no one was hurt. The movie returned and in a short time the Flash Bulletin screen was back and now the announcer spoke of people being hit. This went back and forth for a bit until a following bulletin first announced Kennedy was hit, perhaps fatally. The TV coverage was continuous now and next I remember the announcement that JFK had died.

I think my mother phoned my father at work and he may have come home early.

The next few days are fuzzy but I remember my father picking me up from Sunday school. The radio was on. That's when Oswald was shot.
Fast-forward a few years. Andy and I met in 1967 and as youngsters, we both read many books and publications regarding the assassination. We had always promised that one day we would meet up in Dallas to test various theories and to visit specific locations now part of the assassination's history.

Those plans came to fruition on November, 2005. Both of us had plans to be in the Dallas area on business travel, and our long awaited historic summit occurred on November 16th when we met up at the Sixth Floor Museum, then spent the afternoon touring Dealey Plaza and the surrounding area, a boyhood promise fulfilled.

Andy and I have submitted our stories to the JFK Oral History Project, associated with the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas TX. We hope to be interviewed and recorded and have our story archived for posterity.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Abraham Lincoln

148 years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.

278 words.

Less is more:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.