Shot seen around the world

By Marcie Klomp

If you are 55 years or older, you probably know where you were 50 years ago, on Nov. 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m., or shortly thereafter. That was the time President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Most everyone has seen the footage of the 35th president of the United States being shot. Abraham Zapruder took the film with a home movie camera. Three copies were immediately made, two for the Secret Service and one for Zapruder.

Although it was not part of the television news that first day, still photos were published in Life magazine just one week later. The magazine paid $150,000 for the footage. (In 1998 the family received $16 million for the film from the government, although heirs retained copyright to the film.)

The film has been replayed over and over in recent weeks and can easily be viewed over the Internet. Even in today’s world of video games and violent movies, the images of the death of a much beloved man is hard to process.

Here are some memories of locals who heard about the horrific act that day.

Duane Copeman: I was working for Page and Page Company in Denver, Colo. It was a big outfit, and they announced it over the loud speakers that Kennedy had been shot. It was just before break-time, and they had the news on the speakers. Everyone was stunned and shocked. They couldn’t believe it.

Janet Henry: I was home, after work when I heard about it. I was shocked. Afterward, I watched a lot of it on T.V.


John Albert: I was in the Chester School, and the teacher told us about it. We were all shocked.

Jerry Robinson: I was in high school at a convenience store up the hill from the school at Clinton, Iowa. We were on lunch break. It was on the radio.

Everybody there was in shock. It was unreal. They announced it later in the day at school.

Presidents in the past had been assassinated—but to have one you were aware of—it was unreal.

Vickie Ator: I was in third grade. There was (and is) that big stage at Chester and there was this little, tiny T.V. The whole school went in and watched. I didn’t really understand it.

Beverley Copeman: I was at the doctor’s office because I was seven months pregnant. When I went out to get in my car, I heard it on the radio. I sat in my car and cried that such a thing was happening.

Al Mensink: I think I was in 11th grade. I was skipping school—squirrel hunting. Me and another guy (he later admitted it was Ron Stockman) came out of the woods and we heard it on the radio. I was shocked. It wasn’t supposed to happen to our president. People were upset. He was a real popular president.

Ellen Klomp: I was walking the halls of the old Crestwood High School, and it was just a rumor at that time. Then we got into history class with Mr. Squires, and he told us. He was one shook-up person . . . very emotional. Everybody was talking about it.

When Lee Harvey Oswald was shot, I saw that live on T.V.

Tom Payton: I was in junior high school. It came over the speakers. Holy mackerel! It was mass confusion among us youngsters. People were crying in the halls. They finally let us go home. You’re usually excited to get out early . . . but not for something like that. That was a bad day in American history.

Lois Bronner: I was in the kitchen cleaning and baking, getting ready for my husband’s birthday party. I couldn’t believe it. I hollered out to Bob. He was doing chores.

Kenny Mensink: I was at Benny Davis’ hardware store. He was wild over it. He got wild over a lot of things, if you knew him. Then I ran home and told Ma. We had a T.V. at that time, and we put it on and watched that.

Patsy Lepa: I was in seventh grade. The principal came into each room to tell us. We got on the floor and prayed for his family. We didn’t do anything the rest of the day. They let us talk about it. We had the television on for the next four to five days.

Dick Gates: I was just off my sales route from delivering milk. I was doing the sales report with other route guys. It was terrible.

Roger Lepa: I was in High Point, N.C. working for a photo-finisher. That manager closed the whole place down for the rest of the day. He put the radio over the loud speaker and we had coffee and listened to the whole thing.

Larry Hovey: I heard about it at the dinner table at Ostrander, Minn. “Days of Our Lives” was on, and they broke into it. My wife was all mad because she missed her show. It was on the rest of the day.

Lyle Ryon: I was in Alaska in the Army. They announced it. Nobody could believe it was happening.

Linda Murphy: I was sitting in Business Law class at the old Crestwood High School. It came over the speaker. (She didn’t recall any talk about the event at that time. Class continued.) School goes on.

Ruth Ness: I was in junior high school at Albuquerque, N.M. They called all of us to the gym and told us what happened. People were really devastated. They sent everyone home. It was a very trying time . . . a lot of uncertainty . . . all the trust got pulled out from under you.

Elsbeth Richter: I was in Cresco, just going over the old railroad tracks. Lawrence and I were going to the grocery store when we heard it on the radio. We were shocked. When we got in the grocery store, everyone was talking about it.


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