Yesterday was the 47th anniversary of President John F Kennedy's assasination. I was in the fourth grade in a two room school in the hamlet of Calcium, NY. In one room a teacher taught first & second grade. In the other room a teacher taught third & fourth grade. This was also during the height of the Cold War between the US & The USSR. The fear of nuclear war existed in the collective world psyche. There was a Civil Defense warning system in place. In the event of a threat a siren would sound. The only time that siren ever went off was when the school participated in an emergency drill.
So, we were in school thye day Kennedy was killed. All of a sudden the Civil Defense siren sounded. The teachers were well aware that there was no drill planned. They became very concerned, probably alarmed. A few minutes later the school's phone rang. Mrs. Carlisle, the third & fourth grade teacher answered it. When she hung up the phone she was weeping. And then she met with the other teacher, Mrs. McManamin. Then they told all of us kids what had happened, the President Kennedy had been killed. That was an unforgettable moment.
One more thing that sticks out in my mind from that day was a comment one of my class mates said as we walked down the school sidewalk to board the bus. He said, "I'm glad he's dead. I didn't like him." Now that comment puzzled and confused me. And disturbed me. I couldn't understand how a nine year old kid could have such an opinion. I realize now, many years later, he was probably just repeating the opinions of his parents.