Wednesday, November 22, 2006

TIMES PAST: Shocked disbelief that JFK is dead

Nov. 22, 1963: This is the way Times columnist Jack Smith described a grieving Los Angeles on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas:

"In the streets and sidewalks of Los Angeles the dreadful words fell with the suddenness of some natural calamity. 'The president is dead!' The words came from radios in cars or carried by hand or blaring out the awful news from open doorways. People on the sidewalks seemed stunned, as if hurt by some invisible quality of tragedy in the air.

It was all-pervasive. It seemed to strike deep into people's flesh and hearts. Hardly a face passed that did not seem to show the strain and disbelief of some personal loss. Everywhere people clustered together. Listening. Asking each other. Seeking verification or denial…. Even the open forums of Pershing Square were strangely quiet, the raucous messiahs and philosophers struck dumb by a reality that had intruded on their fantasies." (TIMES PAST is a regular column published in the Los Angeles Times.)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)

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