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
  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • There’s no need to fix system that’s working

    Lawmaker attempts to alter the way judges are selected are being challenged by the state’s lawyers. More than 1,800 signatures on a state bar association petition urging a “no” vote on Senate Joint Resolution 21 have been gathered in just ...

    April 18, 2014

  • On the side of openness

    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has been criticized for failing to release emails and other information sought by press outlets who believe it was covered under the state’s Open Records Act. Now, Fallin is coming down on the side of keeping the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • A raise for troopers, but what about others?

    Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers could see an increase in their paychecks during the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July....

    April 17, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Top honors for NPS

    Top honors keep rolling in for both of Norman’s high schools. The district learned this past week that Norman High School and Norman North High School have been recognized as two of the most rigorous high schools in the country and in the ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Wind power bursting

    There are a few wind generators dotting the Norman skyline, but western and northwestern Oklahoma makes up for the deficit here. An industry group this week said Oklahoma ranks fourth nationally in the amount of wind-generated ...

    April 16, 2014

  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014