PUTNAM COUNTY - This Friday, Nov. 22, marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America. To some born in more recent years, JFK himself is a figure from American history, a tragedy not much more contemporary than the deaths of Presidents McKinley and Lincoln. Even the grainy film footage and live coverage of Dallas' Dealey Plaza, themselves groundbreaking as far as media coverage, are considered the stuff of textbooks.
But most Americans who were at work, at school or even of preschool age on Nov. 22, 1963, remember exactly where they were when JFK died. To remember and help those who were not there know what this tragedy meant to our country and how news delivery itself has changed, the editorial staff of the Putnam County Sentinel approached local individuals and asked, "How did you find out about the assassination of JFK?"

Karen Doll, Leipsic

"I was in basic training in Alabama and was at my locker when it came over the loudspeaker that JFK had been shot and killed. I just sat down on my bunk and cried and cried. I couldn't believe that it had happened."

Ray Woods, Leipsic (formerly of Ottawa)

"I was working at Rusco in Pandora at the time when we were told. I was anxious to get home and to watch it on television. Once I got home I was stuck to my TV watching every detail of what was happening."

Flo Waverly, Leipsic

"I was working at a hospital in Pennsylvania when they told us."

Mary Michel, Leipsic

"I was a first grader. They told us at school. The teachers were crying and watching the TV in the cafeteria. My dad said JFK was a good Catholic man and was probably the only Catholic president we would ever have."

Donna Vollenbacher, Leipsic

"I was at a neighbors drinking coffee when it was announced on the TV. My neighbor and I cried like babies. I always will remember how Walter Cronkite got a lump in his throat and stopped speaking for a moment when he made the announcement that JFK had died. I will also never forget when John John stepped out and saluted his father's casket."

Jim Hayden, Columbus Grove

"It was like time stood still when it happened. I remember thinking all the stuff I was watching on TV was like watching history as it was happening."

OVERSET FOLLOWS:Barbara Wildenhaus, Ottawa:

"I was 14 years old, and a freshman at St. Joseph's High School in Wapakoneta. We were playing volleyball in gym class. Our whole school was brought to the gym, and we watched the events on tv until we went home. We watched it at home, too. I remembered seeing Lee Harvey Oswald being shot- it was on a Sunday. It was one of the first sensational media events."

Bill Wildenhaus, Ottawa:

"I was a junior in high school (Fort Jennings). I was in study hall, and it came across the intercom. I was in disbelief. I had to go home and verify it with my parents."

Becky Leader, Ottawa:

"I was four years old. I don't remember much, except that on Saturday, there were no cartoons on television, just continual coverage of the president's coffin in the rotunda

Georgana Daniel Ford, Pandora::

I remember my mom telling me how she was in class in high school and it came over the PA system and everyone broke down in tears. I get a sense of nostalgia just from what my mom told me about it-how they followed Jackie O. and wore what she wore, etc.

Eloise Bunn, Leipsic

"My husband and I were watching television when it happened. We were both shocked."

Cecilia Zeller, Leipsic

"We just happened to have the TV on that day when my father-in-law heard it first. He came and told me. After that we watched the whole thing and learned in a short time that is was Oswald who had done it. Then just a few days later we learned someone had shot Oswald."

Dee Cramer Smith, Leipsic

"I was in school at the time and we had that day off. A friend and I were riding our bikes in the school parking lot when a lady went by us rushing into to a PTO meeting. She told us to go home because President Kennedy had been shot and killed. I went home and told my mom. She didn't believe me and told me that saying that was not funny. Then she found out I was telling the truth."

Roselia Verhoff

"I was working at the OSU Extension Office when my boss Orval Musgrave got a telephone call telling him the news. When he told me I burst into tears. I so admired President Kennedy because he was young and inspirational with a wife and two children.Most of the prior presidents I knew about were older. Our office closed the day of the funeral. I admired how Jackie was able to hold her grief and had so much dignity during the funeral."

Dr. Sean Austin, Columbus Grove

"I was walking across campus when I found out Kennedy had been shot from my dorm -. I remember staring at the TV for two hours and thinking about the absurdity of it all. This continues to reverberate from me when I hear about assassinations."
story created on Monday 11/18/2013 at 7:17:37 pm by Anne Coburn-Griffis
story modified on Tuesday 11/19/2013 at 8:09:12 pm by Kirk Dougal