A friend gifted me a pile of 49-year old San Jose Mercury newspapers, which contained the paper’s reports of JFK’s assassination. They brought back painful memories of an American tragedy that in my opinion equaled those of Pearl Harbor and 9-11. I decided to dedicate my articles for November to this horrific event. Therefore, I’ll post a series of abridged articles covering from the time of Kennedy’s assassination until his funeral.
Friday, November 22, 1963
It was early afternoon in a small New Jersey manufacturing plant, when the shocking news arrived:
“The President had been shot.”
Work was forgotten, transistor radios swiftly appeared, and phones rang off the hook. Word soon reached us that our country’s youthful leader had died. Except for crucial activities, government, commerce, and businesses ground to a halt. Our workers were sent home early as were those of most companies, banks, department stores, and even the Stock Market.
As was our custom on Fridays, Betty and the kids were visiting her mother in Philly. I’d join them for dinner before stopping at my mother’s for the Smith family’s Friday night pinochle game.
But this day, my boss, who was giving me a ride, and I made an exceptional detour. We stopped at Philadelphia’s St. Timothy’s Church and joined the gathering crowd to pray for our dead President. A parish priest made an appearance and an impromptu Mass was said. Word must’ve spread for, before he had finished, the line of adults and children waiting to receive communion stretched far beyond the church doors. Like other Catholics across the land, we assembled to pray for the repose of Kennedy’s soul; the first President who shared our religion.
The Smith family’s pinochle game was forgotten for we went directly home to gather in front of our television set. During the entire weekend, we remained glued to the TV screen, consuming our meals from TV trays, until after Monday’s funeral.
Gloom and horror engulfed me, bitterness would come later.