Saturday, November 22, 2008

A sad & bitter time...November 22, 1963

Forty-five years ago in my high school classroom, I was shocked to hear an announcement on the address system that President Kennedy had been shot while traveling in Dallas, Texas. Only minutes later, it seemed, the school principal returned to the address system, reporting sadly that the President was dead.

My memory holds such images from November 1963: the horse-drawn caisson in the streets of Washington, DC; the dark, riderless horse with boots backwards in stirrups; President Kennedy's young son, saluting as he stands with his mother and sister; President Johnson, his hand on a Bible, taking the oath of office on Air Force One with Mrs. Kennedy beside him, her husband's blood stains visible on her skirt; the assassination of Lee Oswald by Jack Ruby, broadcast live on television.

Some 37 years later, John Fey, MD, a surgeon, and I set out on foot to find Dealey Plaza from our hotel in Dallas, where we were attending a conference on patient safety. What an experience to visit the place where the President's murder took place – to see the confined space of the sixth floor in the school book depository, now a museum, and to walk the surprisingly small area bordered by North Houston and Elm Streets, where the book depository was located. Dr. Fey and I were touched to be at Dealey Plaza, to view the artifacts of the assassination, and to refresh our memories and our emotions of that time.

What a sad, bitter, and angry time it was.

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