John F. Kennedy | News

Where Were You When JFK Was Shot?


I've been gripped by many of these personal accounts of November 22, 1963 shared in the NYT.

Since I would be born several years later, I don't have one of my own, but I'm sure that many Towleroad readers do.

For those who experienced it, what are your memories of the day Kennedy was shot? Please share in the comments.

UPDATE: Thanks everyone for your contributions (and lots of them).

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  1. I was in elementary school in Vancouver, BC. My teacher was a Miss Kennedy and she was a 2nd cousin of the president. The principal came in to the room and took here out to the hallway to tell her the news. We were sent home and I can remember clearly watching Walker Cronkite on KVOS 12 from Bellingham (then a CBS affiliate) covering the news. Still all very clear in my memory after 50 years.

    Posted by: Jim in TO | Nov 22, 2013 7:29:24 AM

  2. just coming back from a trail ride (horseback) at ST.Bernards School in Gladstone,NJ,as we entered the stables,and began to dismount, a local farrier,who was there re-shoeing,out in the yard, hollered out, hey boys, did you hear the NEWS???

    Posted by: codyj | Nov 22, 2013 7:34:25 AM

  3. I was 2 1/2 years old. Understandably I don't remember it (I wish I did). My mother used to tell me that I cried because all of my favorite cartoons were preempted :-P

    Posted by: Avenger280 | Nov 22, 2013 7:36:25 AM

  4. We were let out of school early to go home. I remember my parents were very upset, and for several day the family sat in stony silence at the dinner table.

    Posted by: Tyler | Nov 22, 2013 7:38:29 AM

  5. i am the avenger, i remember wondering why the cartoons were not on, then grandma giving kennedy half dollars, i never spent one, still have them

    Posted by: capetom | Nov 22, 2013 7:49:10 AM

  6. My memory most of my life (I was 4 when Kennedy was shot) was that I saw the news on t.v. and told my mother, who started crying. A few years ago my mother told me that what I had actually seen and told her about was Oswald being shot on live t.v.

    Posted by: JD | Nov 22, 2013 7:57:38 AM

  7. I was 3yrs I dont remember that directly - I do however remember MLK and Bobby Kennedy assasinations.

    Posted by: disgusted american | Nov 22, 2013 7:57:45 AM

  8. One of my earliest memories. I was almost 2. My mother sat me down in front of the television set to watch the funeral procession; she was very somber.

    Posted by: Rad | Nov 22, 2013 8:03:57 AM

  9. I don't remember hearing about it. But I was born in DC and remember looking for my parents on TV when they went to see the President laying (lying?) in State. In the last 7 years my mother and sister reminded me that we all went to the funeral procession - but have no memory of it.

    Posted by: Alan | Nov 22, 2013 8:13:30 AM

  10. I clearly remember the moment; I was 14 and in Latin class at Hamlin Junior High in Corpus Christi, Texas; my teacher was originally from Boston and Catholic. We were all aware that the President was visiting Texas. The school's principal announced JFK's death over the school's PA system. Our class fell silent - we were all stunned and my teacher put her head on her desk and cried.

    Posted by: pertx | Nov 22, 2013 8:34:38 AM

  11. I was in a fifth grade class when the principal came into the room and whispered something in the teacher's ear and she burst into tears. Then they dismissed school for the day.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 22, 2013 8:35:14 AM

  12. I was in high school; it was College Fair day and I was a senior. When we first heard about it, it wasn't clear that JFK had died yet. My first fear was that this might mean war. It depended on who shot the President: the Soviets or Castro?? The fear was fear of retaliation, and war. We had recently lived through the Cuban Missile crisis... and we were on edge...

    Posted by: James M | Nov 22, 2013 8:38:55 AM

  13. I was 20 and working at a garden center attached to a large department store, one of the guards came in and said I just hear the most awful joke -"some woman had made up something about the President being shot" and then the announcement came over the stores announcement system that the President had been shot in Dallas. Everyone within eyesight broke into tears . store employees and customers alike. Within an hour the store had black crepe paper signs posted and we were all sent home.

    Posted by: George Deeming | Nov 22, 2013 8:43:30 AM

  14. I was in grade school near Boston, MA and my teacher happened to be from Dallas, TX. Another teacher came in, whispered in my teacher's ear. She burst into tears, dismissed the class and I walked home to find my mother crying. The scariest part of it all for me was having all adults crying, something I had never seen before or since.

    Posted by: Greg | Nov 22, 2013 8:58:23 AM

  15. I was sitting in my 8th grade classroom on that fateful early afternoon when the principal announced over the school intercom system that the president had been shot in Dallas. I don't recall him saying he had died but school was dismissed immediately so we all hurried home. I and my family were glued to our black & white TV set all weekend. I have vivid memories of the entire live TV coverage including watching Oswald get shot by Jack Ruby and the president's funeral with many world dignitaries in attendance.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Nov 22, 2013 9:07:36 AM

  16. Watching the funeral procession at grandma's, wondering what happened to the cartoons.

    Posted by: BZ | Nov 22, 2013 9:10:41 AM

  17. I was with my mother while she was having her hair done at Elgerie's Beauty Salon (We Curl Up and Dye For You!) in Atlanta. I was two months shy of my fourth birthday and the only thing I remember is Mama saving newspapers and wrapping them in plastic (they are still in a closet upstairs), and buying some sort of commemorative coffee-table book called "The Torch Is Passed". The book is still around as well. The only thing I remember about the Kennedy presidency is we had to wear an ID bracelet in case we were rounded up and put in a fallout shelter, because of the Cuban Missile Crisis. You can see the bracelet in portraits made around that time.

    Posted by: Tessie Tura | Nov 22, 2013 9:11:03 AM

  18. I was home sick, as usual. Both parents home, too. It was the end of innocence. Irish? Catholic? Telegenic before the idea existed? Until I looked downtown to see the Twin Towers fall, I never knew such meaningless, violent loss.
    I have a young husband. Please, spare him the same.
    Not likely, though.

    Posted by: Wavin Dave | Nov 22, 2013 9:11:25 AM

  19. I happened to be home from school that day (sick or playing hooky?) and was watching t.v. when the news first broke. I remember waiting for some time to hear whether he had survived, and then came Walter Cronkite's now famous announcement that the President had indeed died. After that I just remember sitting glued to the television for days watching the ensuing events play out.
    Looking back, I suppose the pageantry of the funeral cortege, Jackie with her black lace veil, John-John's little salute, made a particular impression on this gay boy.

    Posted by: Jacques | Nov 22, 2013 9:11:52 AM

  20. I was in the 8th grade, in a parochial school just north of Boston, MA. The girls were in choir rehearsal and the principal, our teacher, just turned on the TV so we could watch Jeopardy until the girls finished. Then the news broke, the principal sent runners to each class to turn on their TV's and see for ourselves. Later we were all sent home early, taking the local busses to get home everyone was shocked and crying! Did not matter if you were male or female, Everyone was crying!

    Posted by: Hig | Nov 22, 2013 9:16:08 AM

  21. Tessie, I always wondered what the story behind all the ID bracelets were in that era. I remember a lot of kids had them from that point on, lots of them being traded between friends, dates, etc. Perhaps that was the start of the ID bracelet trend in those days?

    Posted by: johnny | Nov 22, 2013 9:37:14 AM

  22. I was sat at a desk doing "prep" (homework) in s British boarding school. The headmaster walked into the room (unknown) and announced the assasination. It was a complete shock Kennedy was so much the statesman. I cannot think of another moment that had that effect. (Not even the other US mega moments). I really think it is sad that the paranoia gripping the US has so changed world opinion.

    Posted by: tracklayer | Nov 22, 2013 9:38:34 AM

  23. I was five, growing up in suburban Atlanta. I have no specific memory of Nov 22, but I do remember the general mood in our community -- very sad and anxious. Watched the funeral procession on television. Dr. King's assassination, when I was 10, had a stronger impact. My own father had died in an accident just two years before. I believe that made the sadness in our home a little deeper. I do recall feeling sad for Caroline and John for having lost their father, like I had.

    Posted by: jpeckjr | Nov 22, 2013 9:41:15 AM

  24. I was in the fourth grade and the announcement asked all teachers to come to administration. Our teacher came back to announce the president had been shot and school was closing. When we got home our mother announced we were to watch tv and to remember the history of this tragic event. It's something I remember to this day along with watching TV when Robert Kennedy was shot and then when JFK Jr.'s plane when down. For so many of us, everything good and tragic event happening to the Kennedy family seems like it happens to us also.

    Posted by: William | Nov 22, 2013 9:43:59 AM

  25. I was in 5th grade. At my school, we didn't go from class to class. Instead, we stayed in the same room and the teachers would come and go. It was our art class and our regular teacher had left the room. All of a sudden the door to the classroom opened and she was standing there, out of breath. While holding one hand to her chest, she told all of us that the President had been shot. Our teacher then took all of us to another room where they had set up a TV. We all sat and watched the news about what happened until our teacher told us to go home and not come back.

    Posted by: CrackerLV | Nov 22, 2013 9:52:34 AM

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