It was the crying
I avoid trying to reflect on this day. But there’s no avoiding it this year.
The motorcade sequence, the cameras panning to the Texas Book Depository. The words themselves – “Book Depository” “Zapruder” “Oswald” “Ruby” – they’re words that create a darkness when I hear them.
I was 11 when JFK was shot; not old enough to understand it, but old enough to witness what horror looks like.
Like most kids, I was at school. And my teacher, who was a stern, red-headed woman, was suddenly running across the room in tears saying “they killed him, they killed him.” I had never witnessed an adult cry and certainly not the helpless cry I heard that day.
My only memory after that is all of us sitting in front of the TV for hours. Just watching.
As Walter Cronkite reported, “There is weeping on the streets.”
Over the years, I’ve done interviews about the conspiracy claims, but I don’t think about conspiracies or how history might have been different. What I think of when I think of the JFK assassination is being in that classroom and having it shoved in my face that this is a world where things can disappear in an instant. Where people you think are bigger than life can be suddenly gone.
And that you can’t dwell on it, but you might as well be prepared for it because that’s the way it is.