Fifty years ago I lived in Dallas, Texas. I was ten years old.
One morning I was sitting in my fifth grade classroom when my name was announced over the intercom to come to the office. When I arrived, much to my surprise, my mother was standing there. I was terrified! She took me from school to the car and told me we were going to a parade to see the President of the United States. John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
It was raining.
When we arrived downtown, my mother parked our car in the parking lot of the Book Depository Building. We walked to the street where the parade would pass and waited with thousands to see our president. It was very exciting! I heard people start to stir up the street and shortly after that I saw the cars coming our way. There were several cars along with secret service agents all around them. Then I got my first glimpse of President Kennedy and the first lady in that beautiful pink suit with the matching hat.
Just as the president's car was passing by, I heard what sounded like fireworks to a ten year old child. I remember turning my head from side to side trying to see where they were coming from. It sounded like different directions. All of a sudden, Jaqueline Kennedy stood up in the car as it raced away. At that point in time, we didn't know what had happened. Several minutes later, we found out the president had been shot in the head. I remember everyone was crying out and extremely upset.
My mother and I had to get a ride home that day because our car had been locked up in the parking lot of the depository building. She was allowed to pick it up several days later after a detailed search.
We didn't have school for a while after that. I had friends in the neighborhood so it was a great time to get together to play... but one of them was missing. It was my friend Brenda Tippit. Brenda's dad was a Dallas police officer. He was building us a roller coaster in their back yard.
Officer J. D. Tippit was shot and killed the day before while trying to apprehend a man whose name was Lee Harvey Oswald. I never saw Brenda again.
When we later returned to the site of the assasination, I remember seeing flowers piled up everywhere. It was beautiful in an eerie kind of way.
It had stopped raining that fateful day. President Kennedy had made a decision to take the clear, bulletproof top off of the car. It was a decision that affected more that just the political world. I will never forget it. .
Page 2 of 2 - I would like to sincerely thank my mother for my experience on that day in history... she lost her job for taking me to that parade. Thanks, Mom.
*Editor’s Note: Brenda Young said she and her family had moved to Dallas from Kansas. A longtime lake resident, young said she felt it was time to share her memories of that day after spending the last week watching the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.