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Zenith Elliott

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The Silence, That Scarred A Nation
By Zenith Elliott   

Last edited: Saturday, November 22, 2003
Posted: Saturday, November 22, 2003

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President John F. Kennedy's assassination left a nation stunned and scarred.


I was a simple little girl anxiously awaiting my fifth birthday.  My parents planned a nice party to celebrate their daughter's big day.  Decorations adorned the basement, brightly wrapped presents waited to be opened.  The world was a happy party awaiting my grand entrance. 

November 22, 1963 was a day that would forever be remembered in the annals of history.  What should have been a happy memory of a child's birthday party turned into one of the most tragic events of our time.

My mother fixed my hair real pretty with a big red bow.  I anxiously put my pretty blue party dress on with my white leotards and black patent leather shoes.  The princess of the day waited impatiently for her royal guests to arrive bearing brightly wrapped gifts.  Games of bobbing for apples and pin the tail on the donkey were big hits, causing healthy laughter to resound throughout the house. 

As everyone was being gathered to sing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song before the cake and ice cream was to be served, my father made an annoucement that we were to immediately go upstairs and sit down in the living room.  We were seated in front of the "Zenith" black and white television listening to words that even five year old children could understand.  Our thirty-fifth president had been assassinated! 

My most vivid memory of that very moment was the "silence".  Cold, stunned, shocked, deafening silence...and then the tears, streaming down everyone's face.  Our nation had lost President John F. Kennedy, but in reality we had lost so much more.

This was the beginning of a national loss of security...and the end of "Camelot" and "Bill Bailey, won't you please come home?", a romantic musical and song that were favorite's of President Kennedy.  It was also the end of my birthday party...and the beginning of a child's innocence, forever lost.

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Reviewed by Fr. Kurt Messick 1/11/2004
This was before my time, but it is interesting how it still affects us, even me, as very profoundly shaping our world.
Reviewed by Sharron Tyrrell 11/23/2003
It was a very scary time for us. My husband was in the Air Force and out in the yard working on our 57 Ford convertable (those were the good ole days) I called him in and of course the base was on alert and he had to go in. We were 18 and 20 at the time .
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 11/23/2003
I remember that day so vividly!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Bonita Quesinberry 11/22/2003
Good write, Zenith. I recall my daughter, then almost 5 months old and crawling everywhere, too young to understand my reaction when I heard and "saw" the news on that old black and white tele. I could feel Jacqeline's pain. And, of course, I was so close by: at the time living in Ft. Worth, perhaps thirty miles from the devastating scene in Dallas. It almost was incomprehensible, as though we were watching a fiction movie. The naivity we have, or at least had then, was that such a thing couldn't happen in this nation. How wrong we were. ~~Bonnie Q
Reviewed by Rebekah Rosie Lang 11/22/2003
Thanks for telling me about it.
I was not born yet but nice to
understand how everyone felt.
Reviewed by Candida Eittreim 11/22/2003
Excellent portrayal of a little girls hurt, both for herself and her country. Well done!

Reviewed by George Carroll 11/22/2003
Both were tragic events. The loss of your innocence and our President. I remember the day well and your discription of how your family felt resonated over the world.

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