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November 21, 2013

Loss of innocence in U.S.

NORMAN — America became a changed nation after Nov. 22, 1963, 50 years ago today. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy as he traveled through downtown Dallas was the day a generation of Americans lost their innocence.

Many have compared it to Dec. 7, 1941, and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Younger readers compared it to the Oklahoma City bombing news April 19, 1995, or the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America.

Readers interviewed by The Transcript and others can remember exactly where they were and who informed them about the president’s death. It came as the country wrestled with racial injustice, the beginnings of an unpopular war and a counter culture youth movement.

Politics were set aside as the nation collectively grieved that Thanksgiving holiday. Schools and meetings were canceled. Sporting events were canceled. Sunday sermons quickly changed. Families wept openly.

Our nation and its politics have undergone significant changes since the president’s assassination. It was a watershed event that will be forever part of the memories of those who are of a certain age.

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