An orgy of remembrance has saturated the media this week leading up to today, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
I'm not so sure about people younger than 40 or 45, but for anyone old enough to recall where they were that day – as old as most readers of this blog - it is the largest public milestone of our lives. Only a handful of others match or come close.
So important is this event to our national psyche that for years and years and years, decades really, we have asked one other how we heard about the shooting of President Kennedy in Dallas.
So let's do that one more time today. I'll go first, although it is an ordinary story.
These 50 years and a gazillion books, movies, conspiracies, government reports, magazine and newspaper stories have dulled my personal memories – it is mostly bare facts that remain.
I was 22 years old, working at a numbingly boring office job in a building on California Street in San Francisco. It was late morning, nearly lunch time when an announcement came over the loudspeaker telling us that the president had been shot and was dead.
We were told to go home, to take the rest of the day off and what I most remember is that when I stepped into the street, newsboys (remember them?) were already hawking an “extra” of the San Francisco Chronicle - eight pages of mostly photographs from Dallas with little text.
November 22 that year was a Friday. I was living in Mill Valley and was too poor to own a television set so I spent a lot of time over the weekend at the bus station watching the TV coverage.
Others gathered there too – undoubtedly many owned television sets but we all, that long weekend, seemed to need to be with other people, even strangers.
I must have been told to stay home from work on Monday 25 November too because I can picture the crush of people in the waiting room of that bus station – all of us with our heads tilted back to see the screen that was mounted eight feet or so above the floor - watching the funeral that day.
And what about you? Where did you hear about the assassination of President Kennedy?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ross Middleton: Keeping Involved