Archive - November 2013

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Michael McCone HQ & Sierra Leone & Malaysia (1962-67) Remembers
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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) Remembers
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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? John Sherman (Nigeria/Biafra 1966-67) Remembers
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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
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Because of John F. Kennedy We Are The Peace Corps
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JFK Library Invites Public to Participate in Online Tribute to JFK
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Have You Been Invited To the White House?
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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Remembers
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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Mark Wentling (Honduras1967-69); Togo (PC Staff 1970-73) & Niger (PC Staff 1974 – 77)

Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Michael McCone HQ & Sierra Leone & Malaysia (1962-67) Remembers

I was in Freetown, Sierra Leone ( where I was the deputy director of the Peace Corps) and my wife and I were celebrating the first birthday first birthday of our third son, Matthew…he was born in Freetown. Some local boys, good friends, came into the house to give us the shocking news….our celebration came to an end whole the young boys told us how sad they were about our President. The next day I was in the PC office in downtown Freetown (it was on the second floor of an obscure building) and I went out on a small landing to view the high hill on which Fourah Bay College (founded in 1829) was situated. Down the winding path came the entire student body in their black robes, led by the Principal of the College, Davidson Nicol, They were going to the American Embassy to pay their respects and . . .

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Bill Preston (Thailand 1977-80) Remembers

Dwight Morrow High School, Englewood, New Jersey. Tenth grade biology class. There was the usual buzz of adolescent chatter as we straggled in from gym the previous period and shuffled to our seats. Restless teens, we were looking past biology to the end of the school day and the long Thanksgiving holiday. I took my seat in the back of the classroom just in front of Martin Levine. Our biology teacher, Dr. Hill, radiated a fierce intelligence and seriousness of purpose that kept you on your toes and made you want to up your game. He wore those generic, no-nonsense black-framed glasses that bestowed an added, if superfluous, sense of gravitas. The moment Dr, Hill walked into class, we all sensed something serious had happened. One of two African-American teachers at Dwight Morrow back then–both of them PhDs, unlike their majority white peers–Dr. Hill carried himself with quiet dignity and . . .

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? John Sherman (Nigeria/Biafra 1966-67) Remembers

[Recently, I was surprised to find the following diary entry. I had not remembered that I’d composed it in my dorm room at Indiana University in the fall of my sophomore year:] November 22, 1963 3:33 P.M. It is hard to describe my feelings at this hour – shock, disbelief, fear. I was waiting in the hallway in Ballantine Hall here at Indiana University to see Mr. Solt, a history teacher, about my schedule. Reading the bulletin board outside of the philosophy office, I overheard one of the secretaries in that office telling that she had heard on her radio that President Kennedy and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, along with the Texas Governor (Connally) had been shot in Dallas, Texas, and had been taken to the hospital. Walking in the history department I told those secretaries what I had heard. One had just been talking on the phone to her mother . . .

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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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Because of John F. Kennedy We Are The Peace Corps

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy At 2:00 a.m. on October 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy addressed students on the steps of the University of Michigan Union. In his speech, he challenged the students to give two years of their lives to help people in countries of the developing world. The following is an excerpt of his short address to the students that night. I come here tonight delighted to have the opportunity to say one or two words about this  campaign that is coming into the last three weeks… How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world? On your willingness to do that, not merely to serve one year or two years in the service, . . .

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JFK Library Invites Public to Participate in Online Tribute to JFK

JFK Library Invites Public to Participate in Online Tribute to JFK AnIdeaLivesOn.org Puts a Modern Face on the Enduring Impact of America’s 35th President Boston, MA – The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Foundation today announced the launch of AnIdeaLivesOn.org, an online tribute to President John F. Kennedy that aims to create a multigenerational conversation about the many ways in which the legacy of our nation’s 35th president lives on today. Named for President Kennedy’s poignant observation that, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on,” the project invites the public to participate in the creation of an interactive documentary, putting a modern, human face on the enduring impact of John F. Kennedy. Stories from Congressman John Lewis, comedian Conan O’Brien, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, actor Martin Sheen, House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, journalist Luke Russert, and inaugural poet . . .

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Don Messerschmidt (Nepal 1963-65) Remembers

JFK was assassinated within a few weeks of our arrival in Nepal. I was posted with two other PCVs in a small, remote town in Nepal’s Himalayan mid-hills. We first heard the news early on Saturday morning (Friday night in the USA). Saturdays were government holidays, and most of the civil servants who worked in our town, the district headquarters, were at home for the weekend. For some of them, home was several hours walk away over the hills. But, to our astonishment, many of them showed up at our doorstep with the shocking news, expressing their grief. At the sound of loud knocking on our door, I opened it to a frantic villager shouting in Nepali that someone had shot Kennedy. We were dumbfounded. He was quickly followed by others. We I turned on our Zenith Transoceanic shortwave radio, but could find only one VOA station through the static, transmitting from . . .

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Where Were You When John F. Kennedy Was Shot? Mark Wentling (Honduras1967-69); Togo (PC Staff 1970-73) & Niger (PC Staff 1974 – 77)

November 22 is a sacred day of remembrance for me. It was on this day fifty years ago that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Even after all these years, I feel the dramatic events of that day as if they occurred yesterday. When this day comes and I think about how the life of our president was brought to a tragic end by an assassin’s bullets, I cannot hold back my tears. Like everyone else who was alive at that time, I can remember clearly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news that the president had been shot. I was eighteen years old at the time and struggling with my first semester of college at Wichita State University. I worked and lived at a mortuary-ambulance company. The job had kept me up all night and early on the November 22 I . . .

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