Contact Us
Make My Homepage

Whether Mine or Manufactured, Memories of JFK’s Death Part of the Rain of Sorrow

John F. Kennedy
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

John F. Kennedy retrospectives in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of his assassination have been my TV viewing staple the past couple of weeks.

CBS, PBS, CNN, the History Channel, whenever, wherever, whatever about JFK, and I’m berthed on the couch watching.

At age 54, I’m on the younger end of the “where were you when JFK was murdered” generation.

My recollection is that on Nov. 22, 1963, living in a small, gray house in Yankton on Douglas Street when I was four going on five, I was playing in the room where my mom had the TV tuned to CBS and “As the World Turns.” I remember Walter Cronkite announce that the President had been shot in Dallas.

I later saw on TV Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters. I then watched all the funeral coverage on TV.

At least I think I did.

As a history buff, history major and a writer of history, Kennedy’s assassination is one of the pivotal moments of my life and probably of the 20th century. So, starting at a young age, I hardly missed a TV program about the Kennedy assassination or the Kennedys.

So I have spent parts of the last 50 years watching what I thought I had watched as it happened or maybe did not watch but now think I watched concerning the Kennedy assassination.

Did I really hear Cronkite’s first bulleting about the shooting? Did I see, in real time, the celebrated newsman remove his glasses, rub his eyes and announce the President’s death? Was I a witness to the killing of Oswald by Ruby on live TV? Did I see John-John salute his father’s passing caisson?

Or did all those “memories” come later?

And worse yet, was I as sad as I think I was over President Kennedy’s death?

That’s the funny thing about time and memory, particularly now in the Information Age. Have my memories been supplanted with fake memories about true events like the replicants in the movie Blade Runner?

Does it even matter? Are my memories of the assassination like tears in the rain, as one of the replicants sighs before his death?

I’d like to think my tears of 50 years ago, which I also think I had–were in–are in–a monsoon of national and international grief over a young, handsome, charismatic leader struck down before he could fulfill his promise and promises?

But when it is all said and done, the timeline of my JFK assassination memories and when they developed in me is far less important than my tears—your tears—and everyone’s tears. Tears that add to a rain of loss that hasn’t really stopped in the 50 years since the tragic events in Dallas.

And the full monsoon of tears returns 50 years to the day this week, Nov. 22, 2013, regardless of how the memories were created.


  • NPN Logo

Best of KSOO

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KSOO VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KSOO VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.