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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Kennedy's assassination coming up on 50 years
Howard Schwach

Anybody who was born subsequent to 1953 can probably tell you exactly where he or she was when they first heard the news that John F. Kennedy was dead, the victim of an assassin’s bullet while on a trip to Dallas, Texas.

November 22, 1963 certainly is one of the iconic dates in American history, not unlike July 4, 1776, December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001.

Now, everybody — including those who do not personally remember JFK’s death — can relive that day through the new movie, “Parkland,” named for the hospital where the president was rushed after being felled by an assassin’s bullet.

The movie provides a glimpse into Dallas that day and the actions of some of the major players in the event. For those who remember that day all too well, it will fill in some blanks. For those who do not, it will give the event some context.

Most people have an iconic and historical day where they can remember what happened, that remains in their memory years after the event itself.

For me, there are several. I will never forget the morning of November 12, 2001, two months and a day after 9/11, when a large Airbus A 300-600 augured into the street on the block were my son and his family lived, only three blocks from my apartment and a mile from where I worked as a newspaper managing editor.

I remember hearing on the police scanner, “Central, we have a heavy airliner down on Beach 129 and RBB.” Those words still bring chills nearly a dozen years later. That day and the following weeks were perhaps the most hectic of my long life.

So, I am no exception to the rule that everybody who was old enough to remember where they were and what they were doing on any of those iconic dates above, or others of their own, personal choosing, will certainly do so for the rest of their lives.

As to Kennedy, it was a Friday and I had travelled home from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Far Rockaway. The ship upon which I served at the time, the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42), a 67,000 ton aircraft carrier, was in the sprawling yards for a refit and repairs and I had become something of a commuter for a few months, riding the A Train to and from the yard each day rather than sleeping on the ship.

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