With the changing leaves, the Fayetteville square was beautiful, and I was enjoying the walk back, when I noiced something very unusual. A few of the businesses had placed television sets in their windows, facing outward. Pausing for a few moments to watch, I could tell something momentous was happening, but, not wanting to be late, I hurried on.
My desk in the Court House was at the end of the hall, just outside the Clerk's Office. As I passed by, a women in on of the offices called out to me, "Did you hear what happened to Kennedy?" For some reason, the question sounded like the beginning of a joke. I stopped to hear the punch line, and couldn't believe my ears when she said, "He's been shot."
A few minutes later, we heard that the President was dead. The Clerk came out and to my desk and said my boss wanted me to go to the office, the Abstract Company, which was just next door. When I got there, he said the office would be closed until after the funeral.
I practically ran back to the apartment, wishing my husband hadn't gone to Little Rock. He told me later that when they heard the news, his professor said, "Pack up. We're going home. Now." When he arrived, he found me glued to the television, and that's where we stayed, hardly sleeping or eating, until Tuesday, the day after the funeral.
What a horrible weekend that was! It had started out bad and just kept getting worse. We saw Lyndon Johnson sworn in on Air Force One, flanked by Mrs. Johnson and a blood-splattered Jackie Kennedy. We watched as heads of state from all over the world arrived in Washington, and heard messages of condolence from our eleced officials, all of them appearing a bit shell-shocked. We watched and listened as details of the funeral arrangements trickled out, all directed by Jackie Kennedy, herself. We watched, horrified, as Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby at the Dallas police headquarters.
We watched the funeral procession, culminating with little John-John saluting his father's casked as it passed, a gesture that brought America to its knees.
And, through it all ran the underlying fear that the country might be under attack. Still, we remained glued to our television sets, trying to understand what had happened. In the ensuing months, we waited to hear if Oswald had acted alone, or if he was one of a more complex plot. Hardly anyone was satisfied with the outcome of the Warren Commission appointed by President Johnson, to determine exactly what had happened. By the time the commission issued its final report, everyone had already formed an opinion or a theory. To this day, we don't really know, for sure.
What do you think?