Camelot, we hardly knew ye.
The terrible poignancy of this iconic photo: it alone is still enough to prick tears from our eyes… eyes that have seen more than their share of deaths, terrorism, bombs, crashes, all the horrors of the past five decades.
But this death was different. Three years of beauty and brilliance, when all seemed possible, shattered by a bullet. The murder of John F. Kennedy smashed our innocence and broke our hearts.
Montreal. I was 18 years old. Someone came to the door of the classroom, where I was taking a drawing class. “Kennedy’s been shot!” We paled and gasped in unison. Everyone stared wildly at each other. Some whispering. No cellphones to check or call. No TV was nearby.
Class was promptly dismissed, as any “normal” activity in the wake of this shock was unthinkable.
I couldn’t talk, couldn’t think. I walked down to the street in a daze. Looking around me, I saw that everyone had the same haunted look. My tears flowed unheeded as I waited for the bus. Time seemed to stop. People were in a collective stupor. This just. Didn’t. Happen.
My next memory is Walter Cronkite after 1:00 p.m. announcing the death.
The world would never be the same.