Saturday, November 22, 2008

45 Years Ago Today: My personal diary of the Assassination of JFK

I lived through the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. One of the advantages to being a old bugger is that you can remember historical events. I was a sophomore in college when Kennedy was shot. At that time I considered myself a Democrat and was a fan and supporter of President Kennedy.

Here are the actual entries from my diary of 1963. I was 19 years old.

November 22 (1963)
Our honored and respected president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is dead. The nation and the world was shocked to hear that President Kennedy was shot and killed by an assassin this morning in Dallas, Texas, as he rode through the streets in an open car while being cheered and greeted by thousands of people. The nation is practically in a state of shock, and I personally am deeply grieved over the death of this fine president and man, so young and alive, so zealous and dedicated to his country, to freedom, and to peace.
The shock, grief, and sickness we Americans feel now must be lived to be appreciated. May God rest his soul and give him peace.

November 23 (1963)
It was a gloomy, rainy day. All flags in the nation flew at half mast, and will do so for thirty days. D----[my younger brother] and I bought a flag and mounted it in the living room window, with the three corners opposite the pole edged in black crepe paper.
We all feel sick with grief and despair, and a feeling of depression hangs over the nation. All churches have been requested to stay open continuously until after the funeral Monday; almost all businesses will be closed Monday and so will all schools.
My grief for our president is matched only by my burning hatred for his assassin, Lee Oswald; I will not rest until he is dead.

November 24 (1963)
The preacher in church today preached a real good sermon about President Kennedy. The church was pretty crowded as many people who are not members of the church came because it was requested by President Johnson for all to pray for the soul of President Kennedy.
My hatred is dying, mainly because Lee Harvey Oswald was murdered today as he was being moved from the City Hall to another jail, the County jail, I believe. The murder was actually recorded on film, with sound. After I saw the expression on Oswald's face and heard his groan of agony when he was shot, my burning hatred began to cool.

November 25 (1963)
President Kennedy was buried today in Arlington Cemetery. An eternal flame burns at his feet. His grave is on a hill overlooking Washington. Only three days ago he was full of life and in his prime; tonight he lies cold and still in a brass coffin six feet under the ground. Officer J.D. Tippett of Dallas, who was killed by Oswald, was also buried today. Ironically, the murderer of these two good men was also buried today. There's no need to hate him anymore: he has to face God with these crimes on his hands; but the name of Lee Harvey Oswald will go down in history with John Wilkes Booth.

November 26 (1963)
Everyone is still depressed and probably will be for days.

November 28 (1963) - Thanksgiving
Joe, Mike, D--- and I went to the traditional Thanksgiving day Big Game between Camden and Del Mar High Schools. Our alma mater, Camden, won 44-18. The game was dedicated to the late president, and very good sportsmanship and school spirit was shown on both sides. Del Mar impressed me with the friendly attitude of its students in spite of their loss.

Since the President's death, everyone seems a lot kinder to each other, and for the time being the "Rat Race" of our modern society seems to be discontinued.

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