Sixty Years Ago Today

Lynette Dufton
2 min readNov 24, 2023

(Written on November 22, 2023)

Sixty years ago today, President Kennedy was assassinated.

It was a day that I will never forget. It was a surprisingly warm and sunny Friday unusual for late November. The rumors began around 1 PM. “The president has been shot.” My first thought was that our class president, Butchie Mastroianni was the victim. “Damn, I just saw him in Chemistry class.”

There was no formal announcement at school and classes went on as scheduled. The only change was that football practice was cancelled which was a a surprise since the big Thanksgiving Game was imminent.

Walking home was odd. There was little traffic. A passing car had its window down and I heard the radio report that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. My heart sank.

JFK was such a change from the gray Eisenhower years. He inspired us. “Ask not what your country can doing for you…”. “We will go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” He was self-deprecating. “I’m the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” He had two adorable children and a gorgeous wife. He made us proud to be Americans. The Soviets chose a dumpy little bald guy as their leader. The Chinese have a fat guy with a bad haircut. We have a young handsome movie star.”

We ignore all the background noise outdoors — traffic, construction, etc. because it is always there. After a big snowfall absorbs all that racket, it seems so quiet. It was quiet like that until JFK was buried. Everyone was glued to their TV screens. There was little traffic. It’s was like the world stopped.

In a way the world did stop for young Americans. We now had Lyndon Johnson as president. Within eighteen months, 500,000 of us would be sent to Vietnam.

Maybe I’m naive, but I felt that JFK would have figured a way out of Vietnam. 60,000 of my contemporaries would still be alive.

My world changed sixty years ago today.

By Ed Dufton

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Lynette Dufton

These posts are written by my father, Ed Dufton, who has an incredible knack of condensing the day’s news into a witty and insightful commentary on society.