My friend and I immediately chased his car down the road towards Bayshore Boulevard (it was named the same on base as on the outside) where his helicopter was parked between the road and the water. We watched his helicopter take off and disappear into the distant sky. Then I called mom to come and take us home.
To have been that close to that charismatic of a presidentmy heroidolonly four days before he was to be assassinatedthe memory was bittersweet but treasured nevertheless.
I dont think I would have been that excited meeting the Beatlesor anybody else for that matter, past or present. I was on cloud nine for days and telling the story to every person at school who would listen.
The following Friday I was in school when it came over the intercom that the President had been shot in Dallas. I went to my next class to watch the coverage and learn that the man I admired so much and worked so hard to see had died of his wounds. Some of us cried but there was mostly silence and disbelief. At our age, it was just out of context with life that anything like this could happenjust as it was as unbelievable that I had gotten so close to him only four days earlier.
I remained glued to the TV for the entire weekend, still not believing that it all could be happening. The heart of America had been broken. We had all been crushed by those bullets fired at the Presidents motorcade in Dallas.
An assembly was held at school the following week where I was asked to describe my experience and show the couple of minutes of 8mm film I had taken of my all too brief encounter with Kennedy. It was very hard to hold back the tears. It still is.
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