Archive - November 19, 2013

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? P. David Searles (CD Philippines & HQ Staff 1971-76) Remembers
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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Jan Worth-Nelson (Tonga 1976-78) Remembers

Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? P. David Searles (CD Philippines & HQ Staff 1971-76) Remembers

The phone rang in early afternoon that awful day.  It was my wife giving the handful of us in our small office the news that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. A short time later we learned that he had died from his wounds. Most of us had never had to deal with tragedy; we were young, ambitious, highly paid, sure of our destinies, and totally unprepared for an assassination, an event we thought happened in other times. Instinctively, we gathered in the office of an older guy, a decorated combat veteran from WWII who we hoped could explain it all. Of course, he couldn’t. We closed up shop and went home. I was convinced that some right wing conspiracy was at work, that the ‘John Birchers’ had been involved, that an ugly sub-strata of America had risen up to destroy ‘my president.’ I could not bring myself to watch the funeral and spent the day sitting . . .

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Jan Worth-Nelson (Tonga 1976-78) Remembers

Below is a poem I wrote about that occasion, trying to capture how it was for us, my family.  My father was a pastor exiled after a disastrous personal and professional failure in an inner city church to a remote rural parish in Coshocton County, Ohio.  We were placed in a drafty, beat-up old parsonage in a godforsaken little burg cruelly named Blissfield.  My 23-year-old sister was troubled and miserable and living with us even though she was engaged to be married to a rather strange little man in another town.  My mother took to her bed most days and was in rampaging change-of-life. Then JFK got killed. Even though we were Republicans and had opposed his election, it affected us deeply in that already desperately gloomy time.  I was taking the school bus every day into a small high school in Warsaw, Ohio, where I actually enjoyed myself — . . .

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