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JFK – Share Your Story

50 years later, JFK’s life and death remain a great source of interest and intrigue to Americans. Help THIRTEEN explore JFK’s impact on our country. Share your thoughts about President Kennedy – his life, his presidency, his family, his death. Do you remember the day he was assassinated? How did his death change history? What do you think. Share your story below. Visit Thirteen.org/JFK for THIRTEEN's full line-up of special JFK programs starting Mon., Nov. 11.

Robert MacNeil and Dan Rather share their memories of 11/22/63. Share your JFK memories below.

  • BenInBrooklyn

    I wasn’t yet born was President Kennedy was assassinated, but my mother often told the story of what she remembered from the day he was killed. She was a freshman in college. She was in her dorm when news of the shooting broke and as you can imagine, the students were all coming out of their dorm rooms to share news of the horrible event. All the students saddened… they were in shock. But one student felt differently. According to my mother, he was laughing, mocking JFK, saying he deserved it. Another student was so angry by his insensitivity that he shoved him down a flight of stairs in a rage. Not an appropriate response, but gives you a sense of how raw emotions were. Its a moment that sticks with my mother, and now me, forever.

  • http://NYC-ARTS.org Joe Harrell

    I wasn’t yet born yet either when President Kennedy was assassinated, but my dad has mentioned that day and how time sort of stopped when he heard the news upon arriving home. I have many memories of my dad nearly in tears whenever something about the assassination would come on TV over the years.

  • Peggy

    When President Kennedy was assassinated, I was in ninth grade in class when the principal came over the loudspeaker and told us her was shot. We are bowed our heads in prayer,,,,,,,,then a little while later the principal came on the speaker to tell everyone that Pres. Kennedy had died. We were all in shock and dismissed from school and the country was in shock. I can still see Jackie, Caroline and John-John with their dad’s coffin at his funeral. Visuals I will never forger along with Jackie and her blood stained pink suit. Very sad time.

  • Mary

    It was a beautiful autumn day in Brooklyn New York and I was four years old. While outside playing with my little friends, the mother of one of them came out of the house and told us to all go home because our mothers would be looking for us. Back at the house, I saw my father sitting in his chair crying very hard. He had come home early from work after hearing of the assassination. I ran to him and his tears made me cry and I asked him why he was crying. He told me that a very good man had died that day and that we must all remember him and his family in our prayers. My grandparents came over to our house and sat crying with my parents. We’re Irish Catholics and soon the phone was ringing with calls from the family back in Ireland. But, what I most remember from that day are my father’s tears. I had never before seen him cry and it made me both sad and nervous, those tears!

  • jotheodorou

    I think my story is a common one. I was in 5th grade, an announcement come over the school loudspeaker that the President had been shot (I kept thinking, the President of WHAT? as it was so inconceivable that it could be the President of the United States) soon to be followed by the news of his death and immediate dismissal from school. Those were different days, no parents needed to pick us up from school, no buses to wait for us…..we simply walked home not understanding nor comprehending what had happened. I arrived home to my Mother in tears, I HAD NEVER SEEN HER CRY prior to this day. Needless to say that was a dark Thanksgiving, the ultimate American holiday, such an irony. My Father insistent that we watch every second of tv coverage (which amazingly rose to the occasion, their finest hour) as we would never see anything like this again. Truly the loss of innocence.

    Little did we know the shocks to come in our lifetime… but somehow that shared experience defined my baby boom generation.

  • Mema Snizek

    When my adult children and their friends ask me why the Kennedy Years were so special to us I have a hard time telling them, not that I don’t know what to say but I don’t know how to explain it so that they will understand it, because they’ve never experienced anything like what we had then.
    For me as an adult when I think back I know now that our way of life changed forever. Back then I was 13 and sitting in ,math Class When we heard the news in school that he was shot we were so sad And we were so very very affairs. he had recently taking us through the three days in October the Cuban Missile Crisis . We all thought he was so strong and brave and now we no one to protext us. To many young people he was a father figure and he was young and vibrant his wife was young and vibrant he had two beautiful children all the world was at his feet…. His speeches his press conferences were all so different He was America.
    How do you explain this to the generation that has Fox News Jon Stewart Bill Maher there’s no way to explain it it said really country will never be what it was back then we lost John we lost Bobby its just said even to this day.

  • DAVLEVINE

    When I heard about the asassination of President Kennedy I was a student at Pace College, then located at 41 Park Row in Manhattan, across the street from New York City’s City Hall. In 1876 this was the building of the New York Times where the theft of the Presidential election held that year was planned. So there I was in that building hearing about the murder of the man who stole the 1960 election.

  • Dominic Fuccile

    I was a seminarian preparing for ordination to the priesthood. It was afternoon and we were in chapel, practicing for Sunday vespers, singing and praising God and a Seminarian ran into chapel with the terrible news. Needless to say our singing and praising was impossible from that moment on.
    We all knelt and prayed for the soul of our President and for his family
    and then , like millions of people that day, ran to the television set to follow the events
    as they were made know to us.
    I do not remember a more somber, sad day
    as the prayers and the tears intermingled.
    God bless you President Kennedy

  • Babs

    It was an afternoon that Time Stopped. I worked in Midtown Manhattan and in my office there was almost complete silence…all of us were so stunned as if someone sucked the air out of the room. All the radios were turned on with all listening in disbelief. By 3:30pm I was walking west on 48th St…not a soul on the block…it was eerie to be so alone in a normally congested area. I can still smell the crisp sunny air as I headed to the subway to go home. Between 6 & 7th Ave, one man was walking east and as he approached I recognized him…it was Oleg Cassini Jackie Kennedy’s dress designer…I couldn’t believe it. His face showed such grief, his eyes were swollen…I wanted to say something but I couldn’t think of a thing that wouldn’t sound stupid…I was just stunned to see someone so close to the family. Our eyes met as we passed each other…are there really any words to describe how awful we all felt. I went home and we had the tv on for the next 4 days non stop. I remembered how I wasn’t too keen on him, thought he was too young to be President but it didn’t take long to win me over with his wit and intelligence…I was planning to vote for him on his 2nd term…it would have been my very 1st time voting in a Presidential election. No one since can command a press conference as he did.

  • mrs. gilbert

    As a young adult, halfway through college and newly married, I had gotten a job as a “girl friday” at ABC News’ new store-front style news bureau on Connecticut Avenue in Washington. On a Friday lunch hour, when the bosses and big-name commentators were taking a long Friday lunch, Dave the copy boy responded to loud bells on the teletype machines and said “The President has been shot.” We thought he was making a bad joke.
    Things moved fast in the tiny news room – the single switchboard operator called me to do the board while she rounded up the bigs from lunch and worked with the phone company to put in new lines… the death was announced on camera from our newsroom…. The weekend went on like that, a blur -
    Until the funeral procession: from our second-floor space right on Connecticut Avenue a few blocks from St Mathews Cathedral, we watched the leaders of the world walk up the street… Mrs. Kennedy in her veil… Heili Selassie (sp?) of Ethiopia, tiny next to Charles deGaulle. Big tv cameras stuck out our windows, and I had this flash of a thought : what’s keeping us from just sticking guns out these windows? I was appalled by the thought. Hard to believe – sounds like a fairy tale (as does my experience with JFK’s inaugural, when my friend and I could just walk to the capitol and sit in front of the steps) But it’s true – and on that day innocence ended.

  • wendy lee klenetsky

    NOVEMBER 22, 1963..

    On that
    day, 50 years ago, I was a 7th grade student at P.S. 99 in Brooklyn, New York.
    The classroom had those wooden desks that were nailed to the floor, so that you couldn’t move the chairs around; you had to turn around in your chair to
    speak with your friends behind you.
    I wasspeaking with a guy behind me, and he was telling jokes. Some of the jokes were not funny, but the last one he told was HYSTERICALLY funny. Just
    then, our math teacher walked into the room, so I stifled my laugh. Before the teacher could start the lesson, the principal made an announcement over the PA (public address system).”Attention please: We’re so sad to report that President Kennedy has been shot and killed while touring in Dallas, Texas. Let us
    bow our heads and observe a moment of silence in his honor.”
    It WAS a nice gesture, but it didn’t turn out that way:
    The MOMENT that the principal said “President Kennedy has been shot and killed…”I couldn’t hold back the stifled laugh any longer. All of a
    sudden, in the silence of the room, I let out the LOUDEST LAUGH you ever heard!
    All the kids and the class teacher turned and STARED at me with VENOM in their eyes, and yelled at me at the top of their lungs. Well, I sat there
    and cried my eyes out; I was so ashamed!
    THAT’S what happened, to ME at least, 50 years ago November 22, 1963..

    by Wendy Lee Klenetsky – 61 Helen Avenue – Freehold, N.J.
    07728 – wenbowl@gmail.com

  • Schreefer

    I’ll never forget: 6th grade, a rainy Friday at Nelson Elementary, Kansas City, MO when Miss Fischer the principal came into the room and spoke to our teacher, Miss Morgan, who then turned to the forty of us, “Boys and girls, our president has been shot.” The entire school then filed silently filed into the auditorium where we watched TV News in complete silence from 12:45-3:15 Central Time. The weekend was a blur of hushed adult run activity — upset non-emotive adults had long and serious discussions with one another. My completely stoic and courtly WWII Vet father didn’t react until Sunday evening watching TV new around 6:00 PM – sitting in the dining room eating supper – when he taps; both he and mom lost it at that point. They held on to one another and wept (I rarely saw either weeping or holding on to one another). I had had enough and excused myself expressing disgust at too much emotion. The next day the City of Kansas City attended an official “funeral” at the Catholic Cathedral – to which my parents were invited – the service oddly enough included an empty coffin draped in a flag. At the service’s conclusion the Bishop of St. Joseph and Western Missouri solemnly announced that at the direction of The Holy Father (e.g., Pope John XXIII) the congregation would rise and sing together the national anthem – the sound and impact of several thousand voices singing with the organ in that enormous, candle lit, smoke filled space was thrilling and still brings tears to my eyes. I felt the singing lifted the pall off the nation and let us move forward.

  • jaja

    who knew that the shock of President Kennedy’s murder would rank right up there next to that of President Lincoln’s? it was one thing for the Camelot generation to read about Lincoln’s murder in a history textbook and it was yet another totally different and pronounced experience to actually have to live through seeing JFK’s murder live- whether on television or in the flesh. no one prepared us for the deaths of these icons and they were for many one of the first lessons of heart break both in this country and around the world. so impressionable has it been that the pangs of torment and the sense of cheated loss still linger. as for me and my generation, it was like seeing Princess Diana die in a wretched car accident. you remember everything- the sound, the sight, the replays, the convictions, the arguments and urges of screaming journalists and then came the constrictions of the throat and not being able to utter a sound. you could hear a pin drop around the world upon the pronouncement of death. the only other sounds at the time were the pleadings and the begging prayers of desperate exasperation and who can forget the personal and fantastical mind games of delusion suffered by all. no one was immune to their trickery and wide-cast spell. the “everything willl be okay once the first responders get to them”.. “once they get resuscitated, they’ll breathe again”.. “it was only an accident, they aren’t dead”.. “they’ll be okay.” well, as we witnessed, it turned out to be not okay. these were fragile situations that we watched crumble in disbelief before our impressionable eyes. it’s amazing how our emotions affect our thought process and vice-versa. it is a seeming curse by the universe done in jest that after all of these years, the reality and shock of these icons’ deaths still vividly pervade. it is measured only by the depth of emotion in our hearts and the magnitude of our sense of honor and notable loss. upon the pronouncement of these icons’ deaths, the days and the world stopped for a time and nothing else seemed to matter. unfortunately, with each painful recollection and pronouncement today, the mind and heart still skip a beat. the incredible shock and the sharp pangs of love and mild confusion continue to grasp our lives like the strength of a python wrapped around its prey. these are the days that one wishes they were mute. at least it would be a tangible, biological and non-emotional excuse for not uttering a sound as opposed to having the silence be linked with the pain of a hurtful and inexcusable experience that in our minds should have never happened. our sense of loss and honor remains an unjustified and rather bittersweet personal and group struggle. it has been years and we are still daily waiting to overcome. yet, who knew that it was going to be a perpetual.wait?

  • StanChaz

    I remember the front page story in the New York Times dated November 22, 1963.–the very day the President was assassinated . A story which announced that President Kennedy was beginning a withdrawal of troops from South Vietnam. God, how things might have been different, and better, if he, and his brother, and MLK had lived their lives to their natural end…instead of being taken from us .

  • maggie6 Queens NY

    11/22/63 was a Friday and after early dismissal from high school in Manhattan, I walked along 58th St. to the subway, heading home to Queens. On the ‘D’ platform (one stop, change for the ‘E,) 15 year old me took note of adults clustered together, eyes wide, color drained from their faces, leaning in to confer quietly. Anyone familiar w/ subway etiquette knows strap-hangers don’t interact like this. Once the train started moving someone said out loud, ‘the president’s been shot.’I began to pray for his welfare. When I switched trains, people were crying. I can divide my life into before/after hearing the news. It is hard to convey to children & grandchildren the influence JFK and his beautiful wife Jacqueline had on so many of us, certainly on a first-generation American like me. The U.S. was a land of hope, optimism, noble purpose. The First Couple were role models of the kind of well-informed,cultured, service-oriented adult I hoped to become. I watched the continuous tv coverage, heartbroken. To this day, the sadness remains palpable. I regret the loss of optimistic faith in gov’t. and hope for the future that they had convinced me was possible.

  • Cheryl Clarke

    50 years ago I was a high school sophomore in a Catholic school in Wash., D.C. Our class went on a field trip to the local first run movie theater to see MACBETH–with Judith Anderson and Maurice Evans on Nov. 23, 1963. We received a message over the public address system in the Theater that the President had been shot in his Dallas motorcade. I see those full color photos of Jack Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy in her pink suit and the red Texas roses. Then, of course, we learned the unchangeable fact. Our parents picked us up and we were dropped off at our various homes all along the mostly African-American Georgia Avenue N.W. Corridor. My family lived on Madison Street N.W. The house was fraught with grief and unbelief: Mother standing in front of t.v. wringing her hands. Father seated on couch in front of t.v., head hung. Aunt cursing the day. We spent the weekend in front of the tube along with the rest of the world.
    Cheryl Clarke, Jersey City, N.J. 11/11/13

  • Bonnie Council

    It was at West End High School in Birmingham, Alabama, shortly
    after 1:00PM. I was sitting in my 10th grade French class when
    someone summoned our teacher, Mrs. Slaughter, to the door for a brief,
    whispered conversation. She turned and came back into the classroom to
    announce, with no visible shred of emotion, “Boys and girls, President Kennedy
    has been shot and killed.” It was as if the air had been suddenly sucked from
    the room, the shock of that announcement. But what followed was even worse, for as I sat there frozen in stunned silence, Mrs. Slaughter led the entire
    classroom in loud and raucous cheers.

    School was dismissed a short time later. Alone and in tears I
    walked the deathly quiet streets toward home, as dismayed by the reaction of my
    teacher and classmates as I was by the horrible news that our president had
    been assassinated. At home I found my mother sitting on the sofa in her slip,
    half-dressed for her 3-11 shift at the hospital where she was a nurse, crying
    as the television endlessly repeated the news in the background.

    We’d been through the race riots, the marches, the spraying
    of children with fire hoses. We’d been through the desegregation of our school,
    the boycotts. We’d been through the killing of four little girls in church on a
    Sunday morning. But it was on that dark day in November when our president was killed that, for me, the innocence truly ended.

  • newyork

    I was 10 years old and I was at school on Nov. 22, 1963. The principal put on the PA system and we heard the announcement that JFK was shot while riding in the motorcade and several minutes later we heard he died. The announcement was not very clear but the words shot and died were. I felt numb walking home from school and that feeling stayed with me for the rest of the weekend. I felt numb when Dr. King and Senator Robert Kennedy (my senator from New York) were shot.

  • Kenneth Barr

    I grew up next to Marine Air Terminal in Queens. Every once in a while a man flew in on his private plane and drove up Ditmars Boulevard in an open top limo. He’d always stop to talk to us kids and argue baseball. He was an absolutely rabid Boston Red Sox fan and even though in those days they were terrible, he would always tell us that “this is the year.” This was also the Mantle/Maris/Ford era with the Yankees. We called him Our Friend Jack, the Crazy Red Sox Fan. He’d also tell us about his son and daughter, telling me that his little girl was just 17 days younger than me. After he left, we’d go tell out mothers about OFJTCRSF and they’d wonder why we were talking to strange men in big cars. When I was in the first grade, I came home from school on a Friday a couple of weeks after my birthday. When I got home my mother was sitting on the couch crying and I saw a picture of Jack, the Crazy Red Sox Fan on the TV. When I asked my mother why his picture was on TV, she told me that my friend was President Kennedy and he had just been killed. The whole weekend was turned upside down. Fast forward to the end of Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS. The Yankees had beaten the Red Sox 19-8 and the Yankee broadcasters did their post-game show on YES. The said that since no team had come back from being down 3 games to none in the baseball postseason, the Yankees were as good as in the World Series. Since I am a firm believer in Yogi Berra’s first law of sports, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” I instantly renounced a lifetime of Yankee fandom and became a committed Red Sox fan. The rest is history. I am convinced that somewhere in the firmament, My Friend Jack the Crazy Red Sox Fan celebrated both the first Red Sox series win in 86 years and that a young friend of his had finally seen the light.

  • Donna Lee

    My story, I think, shows how widespread throughout the world the impact of JFK’s presidency and assassination was:

    I was born in the U.S., but as an infant was taken to my mother’s ancestral home, Nassau, Bahamas, to live with her sister and her husband where I lived until I was seven years old after which I returned to the U.S. and lived here ever since.

    I was five and still living in the Bahamas when JFK was assassinated. I remember watching his funeral on TV. There was nothing else on to watch! I was fascinated by it. I don’t think I understood all about it, but I think I understood that someone important had died. I had many interesting experiences surrounding death from a very young age in the Bahamas, some of which I detail in my autobiography entitled, WAIF, published on amazon’s Kindle Store. I also detailed the story I’m recounting here in that book. I have competed for the Pulitzer in 2009 and published eight books last year alone and two this year.

    Well, during JFK’s obsequies, my uncle, who was a building contractor and who was away from home at the time, called and asked my aunt not to let me watch Kennedy’s obsequies because he thought they would scare me. Before my aunt forbade me from watching, I was just fascinated. However, my uncle’s commandment for me not to watch had the opposite effect to what he’d hoped and it left me with a fear of things funereal ever since!

  • Allen Harrell

    I had been at my friends house studying income tax and when I left out his back door, a man said he heard the the governor of Texas had been shot. I headed back to tell my friend but before I got there, he opened his back door saying something strange was on tv. We sat in front of his tv and eventually heard Walter Cronkite say those awful words.

  • Jeff Raheb

    JFK assasination – where was I that day

    I remember that day very well.I was 8 years old (same age as my son is now) and my brother had stabbed me in the wrist with a lead pencil. Some moments later I saw a black line running up the vein in my right arm up to my shoulder. When my mother saw it she rushed me to the doctor. It was blood poisoning. We went into the MD’s office and as my mother was frantically trying to get me in to see the doctor, someone rushed in the door and told all the patients in the room that President Kennedy was shot. Every one was in shock. After that, I finally got to see the doctor who told my mother if we waited much longer I would have died from the poison reaching my heart. I still have a black dot on my wrist from the stab. I survived though unfortunately JFK did not.

  • Steve Harris

    I was in my 9th grade Social Studies class when a student returning from the dentist walked into our room and said the president had been shot. We didn’t want to believe him. I asked my teacher if I could use the restroom and was allowed to do so.

    During the whole time I was in there, I refused to believe what he said was true. Starring into the mirror, as I washed my hands, it hit me that maybe he was telling the truth. I turned from denying to being laden with fear. Walking back into the classroom, I returned to my desk. A few minutes later, another teacher entered our room and pulled my teacher aside. He whispered to her and suddenly she became extremely pale and started to tear up. With severe emotional sadness in her voice, she announced to us that the president had been killed. With shock and grief, the room turned silent.

    A TV was pulled into our class and we watched as the event was revealed and described to all of us. Looking at the TV screen, no one said a word as each element regarding the president’s death was narrated. Throughout the rest of the school day–no one turned away from the loss of our nation’s leader.

    Going home, our family was glued to the television. The president was shot. The president was killed. How could that have been allowed to happen? My mother picked up an extra edition of our local newspaper. It consisted of a front page headline and an article about JFK’s assassination. However, on the third page, from the earlier edition, it had an article stating he was going to visit Texas and the reason for it.

    Fifty years later, as I have just turned 64, the day has never left my memory. A president who inspired us, cared for all, and was an example of imminent leadership for our nation and the rest of the world, will never leave my mind, heart or deny me a sense of loss.

  • http://www.tgrworzels.blogspot.com/ Ray Turner

    I was still a month or so from my third birthday, so didn’t really understand this event. But I do remember my Mum commenting on it, after hearing the news on the radio and it seemed to be quite a big deal…

  • Lisa

    I was only 7 years old when JFK died. I was sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table. We had just gotten out of school for the Thanksgiving holidays and we were having lunch. My grandparents were watching a soap opera and we were eating grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell’s Vegetarian vegetable soup. It was just my twin sister and I visiting with them. About 12:55 the local news station broke through with a CBS report by Walter Cronkite stating that Kennedy had indeed been wounded and was being treated at a local hospital. Barely a minute later he confirmed the news that Kennedy had died. My grandfather, who was a Cajun, blurted out “Mon Dieu!” and then said something else I couldn’t understand. My grandmother’s eyes just filled with tears and she quickly wiped them away with her napkin. That caused me to start crying and my sister soon followed. My grandparents got out a rosary and we began to recite it. That’s all that was said. We were just sad and prayed the Rosary. My mother called in the middle of it and my grandmother told her we had heard it on the news.
    The strange thing about the death of both brothers is that JFK Jr. had the same birthday as my oldest sister, November 25th and JFK was buried on that date. Robert Kennedy was assassinated on my birthday, June 5th. That date is also buried in my mind and remember it vividly as well. Who knows how the world would be different if both brothers had lived. I believe there would have been no Vietnam and I also believe the civil rights movement would have been oh so different under Robert Kennedy if he had lived to be elected President. We will never know and that saddens me to this day.

  • Dan

    I was 5 years old and my sister came home early from first grade seeming somewhat sad. My mother asked why she was home early to which she said that teacher was crying and sent us home. Mom turned on the television where we heard the news and I recall it all unfolding before our eyes for the next several days. Not fully understanding the full impact, I was disappointed that I couldn’t see the usual cartoons during this period.

  • R. MacDonald

    When in Dallas years ago I visited the 6th Floor Museum (the famous book depository) and had a thrilling and chilling experience. In the museum they ask you to write about your most vivid memory of that day(s) It really wasn’t that day as much as it was the days leading up to the funeral.
    The memory:
    My young parents two brothers, ages 11, 6 and me (9) were in front of the black and white TV in the living room. No one was seated in a chair but on the floor most laying down facing the tv with pillows underneath their chests. We were close to each other on purpose, my parents holding hands. I was seated next to my prone father. We were (and still are in a way) lower middleclass working people – my father was a crane operator – where loud conversations and shouting were the norm but emotions were not.
    I remember it was Jackie Kennedy’s face a closeup of it as she waited by the plane, and then the panning wide camera shot that exposed the blood on the now famous pink suit. My mother put her face in a pillow and started to cry, my father just let it go and cried (the first time I had seen him do that) and my brothers each buried in thier pillows – all of us crying together without shame as a family.

  • Randall Evans

    Living in Louisiana, I was due to tour TCU in Ft. Worth, Texas at Thanksgiving 1963. En route, I ended up driving through Dealey Plaza in Dallas four days after JFK’s funeral and was amazed at the mounds of flowers still carpeting the green grass in every direction.

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About Remembering JFK

Remembering JFK

THIRTEEN commemorates the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s death with a week of special programs exploring his life, his death and his and legacy.



Our special program line up starts Mon, Nov. 11th. Preview the programs below.

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