Today is November 22, the 45th anniversary of the day John Kennedy died. I was in study hall when the principal gave us the news, and then sent us all home early. There was, of course, a general air of total disbelief. It took a day or two to sink in that it had really happened.
What made it even more unreal for many of us, I think, was the fact we had been privileged to see Kennedy in person not long before. Kennedy had visited northern Wisconsin, flew over the Apostle Islands, and on September 24, 1963, spoke in Ashland on the importance of preserving natural resources. Every school district for miles around loaded its students on to buses for the day so we could see (and maybe hear) Kennedy speak at the Ashland airport. That C-47 behind my friend Diana Bluse is Air Force One.
I can't remember a word Kennedy said; I just recall that the man radiated charisma. He walked down the line shaking hands and we teenage girls all reacted the same way we would have if he'd been Elvis or Fabian. It's still a little hard to believe that less than two months later he was dead.