Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy. As this was before my time I have no recollections to share with you about where I was when I heard the news. Even though I was born and raised in New Zealand I have a fascination with the controversy that surrounds the events of that day. All the theories I hear, the film footage, and photos they show from that day intrigues me. Will any of the theories ever be proven correct? Who knows! It is one of those events in history that forever changed our way of life.
I love a good mystery and I love history. I love sitting and listening to people’s recollections of famous events that happened in history. Where were they when they heard the news? What were they doing? How did they feel at the time? What impact did that event have on their lives?
By talking with people about events, visiting places where events occurred, seeing film and/or photographs from those events brings the events alive for me. Yes, I can read about the events in books and get some background information on what went on, but it’s the people’s stories, photos, films and visiting the area that brings it to life. This is what I love about genealogy. I love digging into my ancestry and finding out where I come from, what my ancestors went through, get a sense of who they were and it gives me a personal connection to events in history.
I have talked with people about what they remember about November 22, 1963 and it is very interesting to hear such a huge range of responses. I have some that refused to talk about that day as it was too painful for them. Some will talk about the day and cry while telling their story. I have even had the other extreme where I have heard people were happy as they didn’t like JFK as a president…oh and then they go into all their “stories” about the Kennedy’s and the theories that they have. It is very interesting to hear such a wide range of reactions to that day.
I have not yet been to Dallas but I have visited JFK’s grave at Arlington Cemetery and I felt a sense of loss while standing there. Later I was standing in front of Arlington House and was moved by what I saw. From the front of the house you look directly down on JFK’s grave site then over the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, across Arlington Memorial Bridge to Lincoln Memorial then onto the White House. For me it was a very powerful overwhelming moment.
Where were you on this day 50 years ago? What are your memories about that day? Have you visited Dallas and seen the book exchange and the grassy knoll? Have you visited JFK’s grave at Arlington Cemetery? I would love to hear them, please leave them in the comments below.
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