I was in the seventh grade 50-years ago (I know some may think that I still am). Suddenly, the door to my classroom at Immaculate Heart of Mary School opened and the Principal, Sister Robert Ellen, stood there and asked to see me in the hall.
Unfortunately, this was not all that uncommon, but this was not for disciplinary reasons. She wanted to tell me, before it was announced on the school Public Address system, that the President had been killed.
She remembered me as a fourth grader who was excited to go on the campaign trail with my father and his friends in 1960. I wanted to believe that our country could elect a Catholic as president, that a hotline between the Vatican and the White House would not be installed, nor turn out to be the governing force of our country.
I will never forget that kindness. I was home soon, and was held spellbound by all the then state-of-the-art television news coverage for the rest of that day and the following three.
While the 1960 campaign for the presidency was on, I was fortunate enough, to accompany my dad in our family’s Studebaker convertible to pick up Bobby Kennedy from the Galesburg (Illinois) Airport and transport him to Knox College where he spoke about his brother’s qualifications at Beecher Chapel. That likely would not happen today without a Secret Service screening.
Yes, 50 years have passed, but I cannot forget. We have since survived the assassinations of Martin Luther Kings Jr. and Bobby Kennedy and all the tumult that followed in 1968.
Then there were the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, as the Predators reported to their fourth training camp. However, as a nation, our innocence, or maybe better stated, our sense that "things like that don't happen here," all changed on November 22, 1963.