November 22, 2013

On that date...

On Nov. 22, 1963 I was just 6 days short of my 24th birthday.  I had been in the US Army for tad over four years and, had just returned with my wife and daughter from a 3-year tour in Europe.

My orders assigned me to an advisor role with the US Army Reserve in Albuquerque, NM.  of the several regular army officers and enlisted men assigned to that Reserve unit, I was the youngest in age and service and rank (E-5).

On that date, I and a couple of the other NCOs decided to walk a few blocks to a well known Mexican cantina for lunch.  We were seated at the counter and a radio was playing softly in the background.  I believe I was among the first to hear something from the radio that sounded like a news bulletin.  It was someone speaking rapidly about someone being shot.

One of the counter staff turned the volume up and we all learned that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas and, was probably deceased.

Upon returning to our office we learned that he was deceased.  Some of us lowered the American flag to half-staff and the commander closed the Armory and sent everyone, civilian and military alike, home to follow the story on TV.

Stunned is not the appropriate word for how I felt and how I found my wife when I arrived home.  I would say that we were heartbroken.  Kennedy had been the first president we had voted for.  And, for the record, he was the last Democratic presidential candidate we ever voted for.


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