The Norman Transcript

Opinion

November 25, 2012

Mournful times: Where were you when Kennedy died?

NORMAN — Editor’s note: This column was first published in The Transcript in 1999.

The first grade class at St. Joseph’s Catholic School knew immediately something was very wrong that November day in 1963. Sr. Doris didn’t interrupt spelling drills for just any announcement. School would be dismissed early, she said in a terse voice. Your parents have been notified.

Mom was crying when she met us at the front door. “President Kennedy is dead,” she told her brood, trying to stay strong. “Someone shot him at a parade in Dallas.”

Every time school let out early after that, I was sure someone important had died.

Most remember where they were and who they were with when they learned of mournful events — the death of a loved one, a spectacular news story or a celebrity’s passing.

The past week’s search for John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law brought back such memories for many of us. A clerk in a store last Saturday asked a customer behind me the latest on the Kennedy plane. It was the first I heard of the tragedy. “It doesn’t look good,” she said, proceeding to explain what had happened to all within earshot.

The memory bank is clogged with thoughts on the death of Elvis Presley, John Lennon, John Wayne and Foreman Scotty. The crashes of the Space Shuttle, and Penn Square Bank, the painfully slow end to the Vietnam War and the instantaneous end to the Alfred P. Murrah federal building.

My family — with three sons nearing draft age rejoiced in 1973 when Walter Cronkite told us the long war in Vietnam was over. Dad lit his pipe and threw the match in an entire box of fireworks he had stored in the garage for just such an occasion.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Action mostly closed due to cutbacks

    Editor, The Transcript: The Community Action, at 1155 E Main St. in Norman, for decades has served Cleveland County with the following everyday services: a food pantry, short-term housing for the homeless, providing rides for those without ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • Nutritional article should be accurate

    I read with interest the July 13 article “Are low-carb diets really healthy?” by Cassidie Day. Unfortunately, a number of statements in this article were incorrect. The first problematic statement was, “Carbs are an essential nutrient ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Hospital story headline was too sensationalized

    Editor, The Transcript: On July 18, The Transcript ran a front page article with the headline “Lawsuit filed against Norman Regional — Civil suit alleges improper billing practices by NRH and contracted physicians groups.” As a first page ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Help better than commentary

    For the last seven years, I have helped run Hands Helping Paws, an animal welfare and rescue group that fosters Norman’s abandoned animals and advocates for spay and neuter initiatives to reduce our community’s problems with stray and ...

    July 27, 2014