Fifty years ago, I was sitting in a high school geometry class in Montreal when the intercom came on, piping in a live radio report that John F. Kennedy had been shot. The same thing had happened a little more than a year before, when the intercom and radio informed us that Russian warships had turned back from Cuba.
On that October day, I walked to the bus stop, not knowing if I would come home in the afternoon. But at least I had some context for the first announcement. On November 22nd, there was no context. I got off the bus and walked home. My mother had turned on the TV. We watched as Walter Cronkite -- obviously shaken -- confirmed Kennedy's death.
Death on television was common in my youth. But Jack Webb and Richard Boone always made sure that justice was done in the space of thirty minutes. This was a new world.
For many of my generation, the Kennedy assassination marked our loss of innocence. We learned the meaning of an abstract concept -- injustice. And we learned that the world could change in eight seconds -- the time it took for Lee Harvey Oswald to fire those three shots.
This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.
We'll be in Toronto for a couple of days. I hope to be back on Monday.