Learning the meaning of tearful response to JFK’s death

To the Editor:

Regarding monumental events, the question is often asked, “Where were you when… ?”
Well, I was sitting in Mrs. Violet Miller’s first-grade classroom at Mountain View Elementary when a stranger came to our door. Mrs. Miller was called out into the hall and in the remaining silence of the room we suddenly heard our beloved teacher sobbing.
Mrs. Miller moved sadly to her desk, still crying. Something unimaginably terrible had happened far beyond the scope of a 6-year-old’s ability to understand.
When I arrived home at the end of the day, I found my father transfixed in front of our little, blue-gray screened Motorola TV listening to Walter Cronkite convey somber news to an entire nation
“President Kennedy is dead!”
My father was also crying, one of maybe two times I saw this happen. But I was still too young to understand the full implication of one man’s death in Dallas.
However, now that I am old I fully appreciate the weight of the horrendous tragedy that occurred in our nation that day. For in the single moment L. Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger of his 6.5 mm Carcano Model 91/38 carbine, the course of our nation changed. A war that John F. Kennedy was dedicated to ending, his replacement, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was determined to expand beyond comprehension! So, just as one, young man unfortunately died in Dallas, countless thousands of other young men would also die in a faraway land known as Vietnam.
The noble man who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country!” was gone forever. And in his absence stepped a spurious successor, whose dream for America was the infamous Great Society, founded upon a giveaway, entitlement plan that would finally bankrupt our economy, driving our entire nation to its knees a short 50 years later.
And now, like Mrs. Violet Miller and my father, I also understand. And with them, I, too, am crying!

– Edwin Woolsey, Willow Springs

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