About ten years ago, I was shocked when my now-teenager asked me, "Where we you when President Kennedy was killed?" I told him I was born after that, but I was sure his grandparents would remember. They do, of course - but even 50 years later, it's hard for them to talk about that day. My mother's eyes become unfocused, and she talks about the apartment she and my Dad lived in, and going to watch the news on the neighbors' black and white television. My Dad mumbles, talks about hearing the news at his first job after college, and looks at the floor.
"Three Shots Rang Out: The JFK Assassination 50 Years Later" (2013) is an ABC News Special by Diane Sawyer. Sawyer narrates a collection of radio stories and interviews, along with audio clips from television broadcasts made immediately after John F. Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963. "Three Shots" follows the story as reporters did, from Dealey Plaza to Kennedy's burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Audible version includes reporter interviews of witnesses made right after the assassination that have never been rebroadcast, which are fascinating today. The interviewees are calm, sound and relate what they saw, without speculation. That's a real contrast to today's requisite "How did it make you feel?" end-of-interview question. I do remember 9-11 quite vividly of course, and the news, and I always felt like saying "Why are you asking that question? How does it help the story? Do you think you'll get an answer other than an eloquent version of scared and devastated, followed by tears?"
Sawyer's piece also has interviews with the reporters, describing in more detail the various locations where the events happened. I was pretty startled to hear a thorough description of the Dallas Police Office basement, followed by audio of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. I realized that the screams I heard were Oswald's. Millions of radio listeners must have heard the same thing 50 years ago.
It's a very good listen. If my future grandchildren ask me the same JFK question, I'll tell them to listen to this story.
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