Where were you 11/22/63?

The assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, was one of those events in our lives that causes us to remember where we were when we heard the news.  Others might include Neil Armstrong walking on the moon on July 20, 1969, the Challenger Explosion on Jan. 28, 1986, or the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Where were you on that tragic day in 1963?

Here are the stories sent in by our classmates.



Karen Kurth - I was working at USAA at the time it was located on Broadway. The day before Kennedy came to SAT. Our president of our company had all the employees go out and stand on both sides of Broadway for Kennedys motorcade. He stopped and we all swarmed around the vehicle and he ask us who we where. My mother still has a newspaper picture of the occasion. The next day the PA system came on and someone was trying to make an announcement but was crying. The president came on and announced that Kennedy had been shot and was deceased. He sent all of us home for the rest of the week.It was so hard to believe when we had just saw him the day before.

Bill Suter - I was in a Algebra 1 class at SAC. I believe they announced it on the intercom that he had been shot. I have been to the depository in Dallas, no doubt Oswald shot him out of the window it was close range. By the way in our 1960 mock election in class I voted for Nixon which I think won the Lee election but age plays tricks on you.

Richard Schwarz - Naval Boot Camp San Diego, California. Basic traning had come to an end, the graduation ceremony was next week and those graduating were purchasing airline tickets to their next destination. I had just purchased mine and was making my way back to the formation on the grinder. As I passed the barber shop I heard the commentator on the radio saying the president had been shot. We waited for a couple hours for the Company Commander to return, when he did he informed us the president had been shot, that graduation ceremonies had been canceled and all military had been placed on alert.

Dana Johnson - I was walking down 22nd Street going to English class at UT. People were walking, weeping and holding transistor radios to their ears. I thought how silly to be listening to music while walking to class! It was not until I got to class did I discover our President had been shot. Class was cancelled and I went back to my dorm and watched TV in the living room. Numb!

Danny Shelton - I was in a Biology class, day dreaming about something. Another day. All of a sudden the Profesor looked at us and said class is dismissed. No reason. We were walking down a big hill at SWT and all the bells were ringing, people were crying. Everyone was yelling. Someone killed President Kennedy. You know how we all felt. Unreal, weird, spacy, not real. Just wanted to sit down. Ended up with no feelings. Just loss.

Paul Peek - One of those tragic days that none of us will ever forget. November 22, 1963 may well have been our generation's Decmber 7, 1941. I was a Fish at Texas A&M and had gone to Northgate at about noon time to get something. Everyone on the street was buzzing about the shooting. The building of the Bonfire was to happen that weekend. That was the first time the bonfire had ever been cancelled. Classes were dismissed and most everyone went home. The Lee vs. Breckinridge game was held shortly afterwards. I remember the players gathering in the center of the field after the game and kneeling together in a minute of silence and prayer for our nation. The game was electrifying; the players action and prayer was unifying and patriotic! Such were the times of our lives!

John Vermersch - I was sleeping at home on Weizmann Blvd, when my mother called me from work to give me the news. We didn't sleep much the following days.

Fred Ross - On November 22, 1963 I was in the Army, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. Although I was in the 41st Infantry, I was attached to III Corps-Special Operations. We were to be ready to go anywhere in the world with a moments notice. We were good at what we did because we were dedicated, well trained, disciplined and had direction. Within an hour of the President's shooting, we were geared up, loaded up and headed to the Strategic Air Command Base in Waco, Texas. There was always a clear direction - a mission and a plan. That day was different. The government was in a state of disbelief (as was the nation)and did not know what was really going on and did not know what to expect next. Was this an isolated incident? Who's next? What's next? After arriving at the SAC, we sat around waiting. The Air Force was in the same state as the Army. I imagine it was the same everywhere. Back at Fort Hood, practically the entire base was outfitted and loaded into trucks and waited for orders-for several hours. It was like everybody was dressed up but had know where to go. Eventually, everything settled down and all of us were able to return to what we were doing before the tragedy. I was glued to the TV. I watched in disbelief as the events unfolded. What a terrible day!!

David Bearr - Arrived early for my 1 P.M. Friday class, and a student said JFK was shot. No one took much stock in his story. We were on the ground floor, and our skeptical professor asked another student to pull his car up to the window and turn on the radio. The news quickly went from shot to killed. Through a strange turn of events I had become editor of the student newspaper, and Sunday evening got permission to run a special edition in honor of our fallen president. It helped to be able to do something. Columbia University Journalism School  learned of our effort -- deep in the heart of Texas -- and later reprinted the front page along with selected papers from much larger universities. I contacted Bobbi Abbott who was pleased with her fledgling journalist in Corpus Christi.

Hal Carson - This was the one day of the week I was in class in the afternoon at SAC.  I had just finished a science lab, which are usually afternoon classes, after all other classes are finished.  When I left the classroom, the halls were totally empty except for one young girl sitting, head down, weeping, on a window ledge .  I asked her what was wrong, and that is when I heard that JFK had been shot.  As I walked across the campus, I saw many other students standing in groups or sitting alone, all of them weeping. 

I was then, and I am now a Republican, so I did not love JFK the way his Democratic supporters did.  Nevertheless, I admired his actions during the Cuban missle crisis, and I admired his efforts in quaranteeing Civil Rights.  Above all, during JFK'S Presidency, he was loved by the world, and by extension, Americans were loved and not hated.  Ignoring his private life completely, he has to be adired for his political life.  I wish politicians could be people who are as good in their private lives as they are in their political lives.  I have not really studied the lives of the Presidents, but perhaps Lincoln and Carter came the closest to being absolutely admirable in their private lives.

So, yes, I was saddened by the death of JFK, a man who was admired by all the world.  When I was stationed in Germany, I was frequently asked by my German friends if I had a Kennedy half-dollar I could let them have.  There were women who traded their favors for a Kennedy half-dollar instead of the forty Marks (ten dollars) they usually charged.  This I know from being told this story many times by fellow soldiers, who asked me to sell them any Kennedy half-dollars I had in my possession.  So this is not from personal knowledge of the matter, but rather my letting them have my half dollars at even dollar trade.  One of my friends actually fell in love with one the girls, and he gifted her the Kennedy half-dollars we were able to acquire between the two of us.  This is an unusual story which I share with you only to demonstrate how much JFK was loved in Germany after his "Ich bin ein Berliner!" speech. 

It may very well be we are hated now, because we allowed such a terrible thing to happen to a man beloved by the world!

Linda Brown - On the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, our thoughts as Freshman at SMU in Dallas were about parties for the weekend and then flying home on Wed. Afternoon for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I had gone to my 8am English class but then back to my dorm and back to bed skipping a Spanish class.  I was just getting up again to go have lunch when the radio commotion in the dorm halls started saying the
Pres. Had been shot.  Then we remembered he was in Dallas.  We went to the cafeteria and they were broadcasting it over the intercom and that is when we found out he was dead.  SMU had a ceremony that night about the Pres. With prayers and music in a large auditorium.  It was a somber weekend.  Then Oswald was killed Sunday around noon.  SMU  said that if we wanted to go home we could so I flew home Sunday afternoon.  The entire week was full of the TV and Funeral(what we all saw) and Thanks giving.  As I write this now it occurs to me how much things have changed.  I was able just to hop on a plane in Dallas Love Field at the last minute and cancel and change other flights.  The cost of a flight from  Love Field Dallas and San Antonio one way was $18.  But usually I could get the Student Fare of $9.  Also  you could be dropped off at either airport and be sitting in a plane in ten minutes.

Lonnie Howard - When President Kennedy was shot, I was working at a Handy-Andy located at Bandera and Woodlawn. An Irish kid named Gerald dropped twelve dozen eggs, and I cleaned up the mess.

John Baines - I was walking back to the athletic dorm after class at UT on a clear, crisp November morning. I walked past a car parked on Guadalupe Street; they had the radio on and I overheard the news report. Suddenly my concerns over the exam I had just "busted" seemed pretty insignificant.

Beth Bobby - I was a freshman at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.  My roommate was from Texas also and we heard it in our room right before lunch. The next day a group of us Texas gals went shopping and the sales clerk would not take our check from a Texas bank and ordered us out of the store. That feeling of fright comes back even today when I hear people express hatred for certain cultures or religious groups.

Tom Goding - Always the entrepreneur, my step father had a product of facial cream called 'Ladies Night'.  I was trying to put the displays in barber shops on consignment. This was out in L.A. No one would talk to me as they were glued to their radios. So what could I do? I went and made the rounds of my favorite bars instead.

Marlene Simon - I was at San Antonio College, standing on the second floor walkway going to my next class. I could not move, I was stunned. All I could do was lean over the banister and stare into space. Jeanette Rudd Johnson and I spent the entire weekend at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Fred Cox - I was in class "A" school at Great Lakes Naval Training Center when the news broke the story of President Kennedy's death. Pretty heavy stuff to try and absorb; taking in consideration our situation with Russia.

Terry Williams - I was working for Karotkin Furniture Store delivering TVs and stereos. The day before Kennedy was in San Antonio and while I was downtown, his motorcade was moving down St. Marys street and we went from the back of our store on Crocket Street over to St Marys at the river to get a closer look.  I was able to get on the front row and reached out and President Kennedy was reaching out and touching hands with the crowd and he made contact with my hand.  The next day as I was working we had delivered a large remote control TV and we had to make sure everything was working correctly.  As we were adjusting the TV, the news came on about the shooting. We were shocked. We stood and watched the report for about 30 minutes with the customer.

Marilyn Cummins - I remember the day JFK was killed very well. I was a Freshman at Texas Tech and I was in class. It happened to be a sewing lab and was about 2 hours long. We all were numb and couldn't believe what had happened. I don't think we accomplished much that day. I remember going back to the dorm and sitting in front of the TV (in the lounge area) with many others and just being in shock. I guess none of us were Republicans or Democrats that day, we were Americans and we were devastated.

Pamela Nauert - I was attending SAC, but babysitting at the time I heard the news.

Adrien Simon - I was attending SAC. That day I was in Little Hipps Bubble Room and saw all the events unfold on TV.

Doreene Saunders - I was a student at SAC and on my way to my Civics class.  A note on the door said "Class Cancelled".