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 sign the ledger.
It was a stunning sight, a moving sight, of course, and dramatically portrayed the depth of feeling for President Kennedy in each student and faculty member…but also reflected the great love and joy that all Sierra Leoneans had for our President. The Volunteers in every corner of the country were stunned: there was little to be done but to carry on.
Michael McCone started in the Africa Division in January, 1962 and was appointed Deputy Director in May 1962 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He left Sierra Leone in 1964 and worked in the HQ Africa division until June, 1965 when we all went to Malawi as Director. He would go in late December to Malaysia and took over the Peace Corps program in Sarawak in January,1966 until June of 1967 when he left the Peace Corps after 5 plus years.
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