The Assassination that Changed America Forever

Five decades ago, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963 as he and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, rode in the presidential motorcade through Dallas. It was a moment that changed America forever. America lost its innocence on that fateful day. Most Americans were in love with John F. Kennedy, and his family. The Kennedys were royalty in America; President Kennedy was the first President that most Americans felt they knew because of television. President Kennedy’s assassination was also the first one captured on video in American history.

My mother was in the third grade when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She described the ambiance in her classroom very sad and shocking. It was overwhelming grief. Some of her classmates cried. This was the first time that my mother and her peers experienced a national tragedy. It was nonstop reporting about President Kennedy’s assassination on the radio and television. Teachers in her school were heartbroken, in disbelief, and wondering why someone would kill the most powerful man in the world. Some people did not feel secure, and the country was already in disarray because of civil rights. Later on that weekend, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin, right in front of news cameras. Lee Harvey’s death fueled the conspiracy theories about President Kennedy’s assassination. Most Americans felt Lee Harvey did not act alone, and he was murdered so he will not reveal the people who were involved. So many people wondered was it a mafia hit. Was Fidel Castro responsible because of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Alternatively, was it the Soviet Union? It was a scary time for many Americans.

My mother’s generation experienced President Kennedy’s assassination, and my generation experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks that were two of the most heartbreaking moments in American history. We will never forget where we were when these tragic events occur. We have these national tragedies embedded in our minds forever.

If President Kennedy survived on that dreadful day, maybe race relations and politics in this country would be better.

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