Where were you when you heard JFK had been shot?

BY Elisabeth Ponsot  November 17, 2013 at 8:30 PM EST


Londoners buying newspapers and reading about details of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Credit: Terrence Spencer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

As part of our continuing coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, PBS NewsHour asked you to share your stories from the day the President was shot.

Here are some of those memories.
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Came home after half day of Kindergarten and discovered that my sixth birthday party was canceled, and everyone was crying…

– Russell Martin
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I was 18 months old. My mom talks about me crying because she was. I had no clue.

– Cindy York Pursley
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Came home from school for lunch, turned on the TV – then I remember coming out and telling my father “someone’s been shot – they say they are giving him blood transfusions” – I was 11 and I remember it so clearly.

– Heather Anne
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Watching TV and folding my youngest’s diapers when Walter Cronkite broke in to announce the news of JFK’s death.

– Jeanette Tito
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John F. Kennedy in memoriam edition of the Saturday Evening Post.
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I was a sophomore in French class at a Catholic HS in NJ. It left me numb for days.

– Dorothea Petrosky
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I was in chorus class. We heard the school principal announce over the intercom that President Kennedy was shot and was dead. We spent the entire class period in silence and shock.

– Joanne Setzer
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I remember I couldn’t watch my favorite cartoon shows because every channel was covering the tragedy.

– Rolfe Eric Tikkala
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I was a 20-year-old marine stationed in Japan and got the news about 0500 when awakened by another marine crying in the bunk next to me.

– Jim Roberts
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I was three, my mother was crying, asked why and she told me the President was killed, I asked… “What’s a President?”

– Dann Marceau
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Was in 6th-grade class (Mrs. Harbison). The principal came on the speaker & told us to put our ‘books and pencils’ away. Elsberry, Missouri.

– Linda Elaine Stamper-Foss
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Commuters reading of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Credit: Carl Mydans/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
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I was in the principal’s office and his secretary told me to tell my second grade teacher that the president had been shot. I told Mrs. Smith but she didn’t believe me.. On the bus going home adults were crying openly and I’d never seen that before.

– Gayle Black
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Dismissed from school as a 2nd grader, I came home to tell my mom that the President had been shot and she didn’t believe me. We went upstairs to turn on the B/W television and hear the news…

– Rudy Nyhoff
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I had been curbside for the parade and was able to smile and wave at the President as his car passed by. I was inside a nearby 5&10 about 20 minutes later, when a woman came in crying and screaming “the President’s been shot.” We raced to the street and my most horrifying memory is the sound of hundreds of police sirens coming from every direction in that canyon of tall buildings. It was so frightening and so very, very sad.

– Dianne Taylor
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I was 10 years old living in Kaiserslautern, West Germany. We received the news about the assassination of President Kennedy that evening. We were watching the American TV channel out of Ramstein Air Force Base. My father was with the U.S. Army 11th Calvary, at the time. He called his company commander and was told to report to his mechanized unit. He then told my sister and me to put on our long johns and lay out our winter clothes on the bed. My mother put a small suitcase by the entry door, just in case we had to evacuate. We didn’t know if the assassination was a prelude to war. I remember watching out the window that cold winter night and seeing the other soldiers starting their cars and driving to their units.

– Ralph Rodriguez
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I was in my classroom in Jr. High School. The teacher stopped the lesson and told us she had just gotten an announcement from the school office that she had to share with us. I will always remember that moment that changed our country and took away my innocence about the world… Next class was gym class. But we didn’t get changed for gym. We just stood in the locker room and cried.

– Janet Shapiro
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Do you remember the day that JFK was shot? Share your story with us in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.