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Jack Beatty Remembers JFK

This article is more than 5 years old.

During our hour honoring the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, On Point news analyst Jack Beatty told the story of where he was when he first heard that the President had been shot during a routine visit to the city of Dallas, TX. He shares more of that memory with us here.

A woman once told me a story about the first time she saw her mother run. It happened on a San Diego beach. The woman, then a little girl, was playing with her pail and shovel near the water. She heard a cry and looked up the beach in the direction of her mother. Who , to her wonder, was running toward her. Mother arrived in a spray of sand, scooped her up, and hugged her hard….In this way she learned that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States was at war.

My memory of the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is not nearly so dramatic. Still, here it is.

I was working as a cashier at the Star Market in Wellesley, a Boston suburb. The news reached the front of the store from the back, where someone must have been listening to the radio, in a chain reaction of gasps and cries.  I remember hearing that the president had been shot and the anxiety that followed. Then came the official word-- he was dead --and the grief.

A woman in the line said something like, “That serves him right.” And I remember how the other people in the line looked at her—their shock, their horror…

I was shaking. My body was shaking, and I was afraid my hands would shake giving change to the customers.  Nobody would care one way or the other, but I remember willing my hands to be still. Somehow making that gesture of self-control was important to me… I can’t remember if it succeeded.
-- Jack Beatty

This program aired on November 22, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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