I was seven years old, in second grade and had been sent home from school early. When I entered the house, my mother was watching our small black and white television, something I never saw her do during the day. She was crying.
I was confused. Two years earlier, I saw my parents crying a lot; my baby sister Paula had died in her sleep. I remember how my sister Naomi, then 3, and me, then 5, were brought into our bedroom and the door was closed. Policemen and our pediatrician, Dr. Goldenring, came to the house. What had happened now? My brother David was only seven months old. Had something happened to him?
In time I was told the magnitude of the event though I’m sure I didn’t understand the significance. I remember watching the funeral procession on television and seeing the First Lady and her very young children, now fatherless. It was beyond my comprehension. For sure I didn’t know then that it would become the first in a series of indelible dates that would mark my memory from then on: The subsequent assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy; the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Sandy Hook, and so many more.
Fifty years after this horrible assassination, guns are still readily available.