“The President Is Dead”

Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 14:16 | Category : History
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I was in the fourth grade at Sykes Elementary in Jackson, MS. Mrs. Hicks was my teacher. Earlier that morning, November 22, 1963, the principal, Mr. Bennett, had come into the classroom and whispered something to Mrs. Hicks. Her face went pale, and she gravely announced to the class that President Kennedy had been shot. Not long after that, Mr. Bennett returned to the classroom and once again quietly said something to Mrs. Hicks. She then announced, “The President is dead”. I can remember the entire scene like it was yesterday – the rows of desks, the chalkboards, Mrs. Hicks’ desk in the front center, a few feet in front of the chalkboards. It was probably the first time I had seen an adult with that look on their face. I don’t think we, the students, really understood. In fact, I know we didn’t. All we knew was that school was dismissed for the rest of the day, and there was no school until after the funeral. Kennedy wasn’t particularly popular in Mississippi. More than one Mississippian expressed something very near happiness that he was dead, although those sentiments, even here, were rare. The image I retain from the televised funeral was that of the riderless horse, and the relentless drum cadence – I remember it being a single drum, although that may not be correct. At some point over the next days, the shock our parents were feeling got through to us, but we had no idea that the world had changed that day, that the United States had aged in a split second. November 22, 1963.

One Comment for ““The President Is Dead””

  1. 1scott

    Also the day C.S. Lewis died.