And You Are There

I was in fourth grade when John F. Kennedy was assasinated. We had come in from lunch, and I was staring out the window at the Catholic School across the street and saw someone come out and lower the flag to half-staff. I asked Mrs. McSweeney who had died, because we had learned flag etiquette and knew that was what the lowering signified.

She didn't know, yet. It was announced across the school intercom shortly thereafter. I remember sitting on the floor watching his funeral on our black and white tv. I guess my mother kept me home, or, good Southern Democratic town that it was, school was suspended for the occasion.
I was sitting on a hotel bed in Kingston, New York, right off the NY State thruway, when Howard Cosell broke into the Miami Dolphins game to tell us all that John Lennon had been shot. I called The Coolest Person in the World, and we cried together.

Howard Cosell? That's who broke the news to me that my idol was gone? How much did that suck. And the Dolphins were winning? Losing? Winning, I think. I think it was an important game, maybe one that determined if they went to the Superbowl that year. I don't remember anything about the game, just that I'd come down out of the top of the Catskills where I was holed up, to Kingston, so that I could see the game on cable. All I remember is Howard Cosell and the horrible, horrible news.

Yesterday, there was a photo of some old geezers in their uniforms, the handful of survivors of Pearl Harbor. It was buried in the Herald, somewhere in section A, but not on the front page. Not even a banner over the title, like they do for the first day of Kwanzaa. The most horrible throwing of the gauntlet of war of the last generation, and it doesn't even get a nod.

Today, there's a little something on the wires about it being the 25th anniversary of John's death at the hands of "a deranged fan". Huh. Yeah. Sort of obvious, isn't it? I mean, a normal fan isn't going to kill the person they adore, are they? But it has become part of the myth, part of his name: Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan.

And back in November, on the 23rd, to be precise, there was no mention in the Herald at all of what anniversary of a national nightmare we were recognizing.

Time heals all wounds, they tell us. But I think that sometimes, we need to pick at the scabs, and never let the hurt heal altogether.

PS: CBGBs is safe until next year. They got a year's extension on the lease. At least I don't have to go into mourning over that.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/08 at 12:28 PM in That’s Entertainment

(5) Comments
#1. Posted by Miss Bliss on December 08, 2005

Ya know…I just knew I could come here and I would find that you would have written about the significance of this day.  I also noticed that there was little to no mention of Nov 23 here in L.A. and little of anything about yesterdays significance too.  I agree with you…forgetting is dangerous.

P.S. I also saw the good news about CBGBs…at least it’s one more year.

#2. Posted by RJ on December 08, 2005

Umm, sorry.  JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963.  Not 23.

I was in second grade and it was Michael Davidson’s 7th birthday.  Michael always had cool birthday parties and his mom was supposed to pick us up in her stationwagon (which I though was really neat, ‘cause I didn’t have to sit in a real seat!), to take us somewhere… maybe the planetarium.  That part’s a little fuzzy.  Anyway, the whole thing was cancelled and they sent us home from school early.  I suspect that Michael’s birthday was never quite the same after that.

#3. Posted by Miz Shoes on December 08, 2005


I knew that. I never get it right, but I DO know that. (slaps forhead… 22, 22, 22)

#4. Posted by Larry Cafiero on December 08, 2005

While RJ may be right in saying that JFK was assassinated on the 22nd, any news story relating to   observations of the assassination’s anniversary would run in the editions of the Herald—or anywhere else (like the Santa Cruz Sentinel, my esteemed employer)—on the 23rd.

So Lynne may be correct here anyway.

Ready? Dropping the puck. Game on.

#5. Posted by RJ on December 08, 2005

Larry:  Backatcha!

I think what we’re talking about is recognition of the anniversary, not reporting on observances of the anniversary.

While any report on observances of the anniversary of the assassination would/might have been reported the day after, the point is that recognition of the anniversary itself would have occurred on the date of the anniversary.  Certainly the Miami Herald used to place a banner of some sort above the masthead recognizing a historic event (e.g., JFK Remembered; Pearl Harbor Anniversary).  Now they seem to restrict that sort of thing to “holidays” (Happy Chanukah, Happy Easter, Today is Election Day).  There might have even been some sort of story on the event or plans for observances…or…or…or…

Ditto re: Pearl Harbor and John Lennon.

Over the blue line to you. :-)

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