That Horrible Day – November 22, 1963; As has been observed many times, if you were alive in 1963 and over the age of 5, no doubt you can recall exactly what you were doing when you heard that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Not only can you recall it, but as vividly as if it happened last week. My recollections of that day are fairly typical I’m sure, but there are two incidents that may not be so typical and I have remembered them through the decades every year this anniversary rolls around. This is the first time I have written them down.; I was in my 8th grade classroom on that Friday. I went to Catholic school and our teacher, Sister Marie Matilde, began this routine day with the religion lesson. I remember that the topic was how we should always be prepared to be called home by God because none of us knows how long our time on earth will last. This discussion was not as morbid as it sounds – our classroom overlooked a funeral home across the street and the funeral director’s daughter was in our class. Sister Marie observed that on this very morning, moms and dads and children were leaving their homes to go to work or school as usual, but that some of them would never return home. I remember that you could hear a pin drop in the classroom when Sister said this. Her statement contained an undeniable truth that hit us like a 2 by 4.; That afternoon when word circulated about the tragedy in Dallas, Sister Marie quietly said to us, “Remember what I said this morning?” A half century later I’ve never forgotten it.; The second incident that may be worth relating has to do with my own thoughts that afternoon. I was part of the student patrol to help the school kids cross the street safely. My post was across the street from the school and I was the lone sentry there. So alone with just my thoughts to take stock of events, a disturbing observation crossed my mind. For a young man of perhaps above average intelligence, even I was alarmed that I could think of this aspect of that terrible day. John F. Kennedy had seemed like a member of our family, or at least a beloved relative who didn’t live nearby. This was a very common perception as expressed by millions of people in the days ahead. My sister actually met him in 1960 when he was running for President and they shook hands.; Only people who are old enough to remember JFK pre-November 22 can understand my thoughts on that afternoon. The very name of John F. Kennedy was tightly associated with many positive impressions. Until that day, if you asked almost any American what adjectives came to mind upon hearing his name, they would likely say youth, energy, wit, humor, optimism, and confidence. My feelings of depression over this man’s murder crystalized into one thought that afternoon: from that day forward the name of John F. Kennedy would forever be linked with tragedy, death, murder, and that dreaded word, assassination. Never again would his name conjure all the positive attributes of living and of life itself. And to me that was the most terrible loss of all.