« Thoughts from the Nighttime

Remembering the Death of President Kennedy

by Bob Harris

November 22nd 1963, I was a 2nd grader at Sharp Elementary School in Moorhead. I don't exactly remember why, but I was sitting on the floor in the hall just outside Principal Gladys Larson's office. I either forgot my boots and they wouldn't let me outside to play during lunch break or maybe my mom sent a letter to keep me indoors because I was getting a cold. Either way I was one of the first in the building to learn that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas Texas.

A student teacher was pacing back and forth in the hallway,  keeping watch over the ones who were not allowed outside during that lunch hour in 1963.  The young student teacher stopped and could hear sobs coming from within the Principal's office.

I remember him saying to himself "I wonder what's going on in there?"

A 6th grader who had a reputation for being a real smart aleck spoke quickly "The President's dead! He got shot!"

"Shut up! Can't you be serious for once in your life?"

"No! No! I am serious! I just heard in on the radio". The radio was always on in her office.

The student teacher then burst into her office and I don't remember if her ever came out before the bell rang and we returned to class.

Things were very quiet...maybe solemn is a better word for the rest of the afternoon. Miss Stella Nelson, my 2nd grade teacher sat on the edge of her desk and tried to explain to a group of 7 & 8 year olds what had just happened to this country. It was a Friday and we were released from school early.

Trying to understand, I was glued to the television watching for hours over that weekend. I was one of the tens of millions to see Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald on live television.  The caisson, the riderless horse with boots backwards in the stirrups and draping sword. John John's salute as his father's casket rolled by. All of the people who walked through the capital rotunda to pay their last respects to President Kennedy. Camelot was over. That word would not make sense to me for years.

Still 50 years later people theorize if Oswald acted along. There's always new books, movies, documentaires. But 50 years! We may never know. but in 2017 more documents are set to be released on the assassination. Will there be something there? Who knows.

Twice I had interviewed  a former member of the Bonnano Crime family and asked him how many times people ask him if the mob had anything to do with the JFK Assassination. His reply was that he was in New York at the time and was told that it was a "local issue" and when you heard that phrase "You bud out".

50 years have gone by and we'll still asking questions for 50 more. 

Be sure to read the rest of my columns in the FM Extra