Tuesday, November 6, 2007

JFK assassination talk still chokes me up

Last week, we had a book signing gig at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas. That's our book on the left.

The event was an emotional experience for me. A couple of times during my presentation, I choked up. Dealey Plaza. The Sixth Floor Museum. That's hallowed ground. Plus, I was weary from three days and a thousand miles on the Interstate (our semi-annual migration between Minnesota/Texas).

But I've choked up before when we discuss those terrible days when we were young reporters covering the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. At first, my reactions surprised me. But no longer. My tears seem to come when I am describing the Kennedys. They were beautiful people.

It is especially difficult to describe filming of Jackie coming out of the Parkland Hospital emergency exit and standing beside the hearse. His blood dried dark on her pink dress. Her grief on display "so they would know what they have done."

I have no such difficulty talking about Jack Ruby standing right next to me in the moments before he shot Oswald. Murder just a few feet in front of me. Part of a day's work for a young reporter.

This weekend, we have another book gig. This time we make an appearance at Books on the Bosque, November 9 & 10, at Bosque Conservatory in Clifton, Texas. I've learned to bring a handkerchief.

FYI -- our book "When the News Went Live" is now in the fourth printing. Now in paperback, it is affordable enough for J-schools.


The South Plainsman said...

Its a fabulous book. For us pre-war born geezers, the assassination of JFK was the defining moment in our young adult lives. I don't know of anyone in our age group that doesn't remember exactly where they were when they heard about it. In my opinion, what happened that day changed this country in many ways. The book, written by guys that were there, is a must read.

Anonymous said...

I was not a Kennedy supporter, but I grieved with everyone else over his tragic end. He was the President,and like it or not he was MY president.I sat glued to the tv when I could. The images were so vivid then and they remain so after all these years.
If I had known that my friend George was that close to not only imminent danger, but was such a part of this most important time in this nation's history, I would have been in a panic.
As the South plainsman says the book is a must read. I urge everyone who hasn't read it yet,please do so.------Goose

Anonymous said...

I will agree with the posters here. The book is a must-read and not just for those curious about what happened in Dallas. For reporters who want to know about pivotal experiences in America from those who can write about it, this book is the one to read. Even though I wasn't there, seeing that photo of Jackie Kennedy in that pink dress on the airplane is enough to make me stop and remember what she and the entire country went through. -- Denise

sph said...

You have always stood out in a crowd, tho.

I remember the C-Span video of the book signing at Book People(I think) and the genuine softness your presentation placed in an otherwise emotinally unremarkable group of adult males. All the men brillant, clever, successful but rather unemotional - pretty cut and dried. The grief you still feel was tangible and as close to the actual event that those people who weren't in DAllas will EVER feel, not just see or read but FEEL. Keep that hankie handy but plase don't stop showing the emotion. Without feeling the pain and loss of other human beings, we become less than human and therefore can forget too easily what war, death, torture, road side bombings, genocide really are(all those things THIS administration would have us think are not real).

Thank you for still caring that Mrs. Kennedy had just been widowed and we had lost Camelot.

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