Friday, November 22, 2013

On a Friday Afternoon 50 Years Ago

It was about 3pm and I was sitting in my geometry class at Nepean High School in Ottawa, Canada. This was my final year of high school. I liked this course and I liked my teacher (Mr. Pollack).

The loudspeaker crackled and I heard the Principle's voice. Mr. Callan said that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas.

Kennedy was not my President but it was still a great shock. It seemed like Camelot had been destroyed.1 I spent the next three days in front of the television set. Nobody knew what was going to happen to America.

You know how everyone says they know exactly where they were and what they were doing when major events happen? That's certainly true for me on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. It's one of only two days in my life that I remember so vividly.2 If it was traumatic for a young Canadian boy, I can't imagine what it must have felt like for Americans.

How many of you remember Nov. 22, 1963?

It looks very naive now but back in 1963 we really believed that Camelot and King Arthur could be real. Here's Richard Burton in the Broadway production. It seems like everybody had the album.

1. The musical, Camelot had been playing on Broadway since 1960 and everyone was familiar with the music from the LP (record album). The Kennedy family and the Kennedy administration were intimately associated with the idea of Camelot.

2. The other was Sept. 11, 2001.