JFK Assasination 11/22/1963

Here is a dialog about what we were doing on the day JFK was assasinated. The following people took part: Larry Obrist Tom McGuire David Stang Mike Chudalski Richard Kiniry Bill Murphy Ed Flanigan Chris Bradley Vince Dowling Michael McKenna Frank Breen Tom Thompson Ray Voith Joe Fahey Scott Clark Jim Huvane
Larry Obrist I would be interested in a few memories of the Assassination Day of Nov.22 for those at Glen Ellyn then. My Class of 1969 were in our Senior year, so what are the memories of those in Freshman, Soph, and Jr. classes? I just remember hearing of his being shot as noon meal ended. Guess heard via the priests refectory. I know mid afternoon we went to Chapel to pray and I marked an "X" in my Liber Usualis for the Feast of St. Cecilia. Were classes canceled on that Friday afternoon? and on the day of the Monday funeral??? How much TV were we allowed that week end??? Then in Spring of 1964 we dedicated a Flag Pole in JFK's honor....this is all that now still remains on what was the GE property. Just want some help to fill in some blanks in my memory of the GE experience....but I am sure others might care to share "where you were when" the tragedy struck. Larry O. Lrn-Lsw.Obrist@windstream.net
Richard Kiniry Larry, you are right. I'm sitting here looking at a "holy card" marking the investiture of the class that entered Glen Ellyn in September of 1961, graduated in 1965, and the remnant of which was ordained in 1970. The card lists the date of the investiture as November 21, 1963, the day before Kennedy's death. Best, Richard Kiniry ;
Larry Obrist Richard et al: Your GE Class of 1965 investiture maybe happened on 11/21/1963....but my GE Class of 1964 were invested the year before on 11/21/1962...per my investiture card with John XXIII on the front. Larry O.
Vince Dowling So many of you post date me. My memory was that on that historical day I was at our Center House and Language School in Davao City in the Philippines. I had just finished offering mass when someone gave me the horrible news. Can not remember what happened after that. With age one's memory becomes cloudy. Are there any former P.I. People out there who can fill in what happened at SaSa? Vin Dowling . 1959 vdowl93343@aol.com
Ray Voith (Junior at GE in Nov 1963) We were in the refectory having lunch. I was at a table on the right side as you walk in, about half way down. David Thom was doing waiter service for our table. He came to the table and told us that Kennedy was shot. At first I thought he was just kidding around, since I remember him as a jokester (sorry Dave if I mis-characterize you). Of course, he wasn't joking. I believe that Fr Buckley, the rector, soon made an announcement confirming what Dave had said. I remember being in the chapel later reflecting on what happened, but not much else about that day or subsequent days. At that time I was in the middle of the most difficult decision of my life - to leave the seminary after 4 1/2 years. I decided to leave Maryknoll on Dec 10 of that year. My decision was in the making and not affected by the assasination. After deciding to leave, I finished the semester and actually left in January, 1964.
Tom McGuire I was at the Bedford Novitiate standing in front of the building when someone came out the front door and said the President was shot. That moment,frozen in my memory, came back vividly when I had to tell my Junior High students about the attack on the NY Towers. These kids, many who had seen people shot and killed responded with instant tears of fear. Those tears brought back my deep feelings of fear on that fateful November day in 1963 . Tom McGuire Tom McGuire ;
Bill Murphy My strongest memory was after the assassination there was a community gathering of everyone in the auditorium led by Gene Kennedy. I don’t remember what he said, but somehow that memory sticks…Bill Murphy, Class ’66 GE Bill Murphy
RICHARD KINIRY ; Chris, Scott. and all, On the question of investiture date and JFK, my memory - Kennedy's death was after our investiture, actually I think it was the day after, because I was in the cassock and was a waiter that day and my job was to take lunch into the priest who were not eating with the seminarians but were eating in their rec-room space down the hall. And I stood in front of their television watching the news from Dallas and after hearing the news I had the job of going into the big dinning room and telling the big man (the Rector?), Father Buckley, about the shooting. I don't think JFK had been declared dead at that point. I went back into the priest room doing my waiter job but was actually watching the TV until one of the priest noticed me and ask, "What are you doing here?" and I shuffled off returning to my duties.
Michael McKenna - Freshman in '63. Michaelwmckenna@aol.com ; ************ A little hazy after 50 years, but I recall being on the grounds crew working outside on a rainy, cold day. The weather perfectly matched the mood of the day. Someone, I believe it was Dave Austin, a sophomore, suggested that we say the Rosary, and we stood (knelt?) outside in a circle and prayed. We had been working near the club house where there was a boxing ring. Anybody else remember that?
Joseph J. Fahey Larry, I'm sure those who were at GE will respond to your letter but I'd like to tell what I remember from the Knoll. I was in First Theology in 1963 and was one of the very first to hear that the President had been shot. We were on manual labor at that time in the afternoon and I was passing the "radio room" at the Knoll and someone shouted out that the President had been shot. I immediately remember thinking "if he was dead they would have said so; he must be wounded." Within a short time we heard he was dead and guys began to go to the chapel in silent prayer. I remember being struck at seeing guys in sweatshirts kneeling in the chapel since we only appeared there in our cassocks. We then crowded into the TV room and by chance I sat next to Chris Brickley who was a huge fan of JFK being from Boston as he was. When Walter Cronkite announced Kennedy's death and then took his glasses off I looked at Chris and he was crying like a baby. There wasn't a dry eye in the room and we sat there in stunned silence. I don't think we did anything special at the Knoll and can't remember or not whether we had classes on the day of the funeral (I'm sure others can recall) but I do remember watching the procession with Jackie and the family as they walked from the Capitol with the coffin and the riderless horse. I can honestly say that I have never been the same after that. "How could they take from us such a good man." I thought. Jack had that year launched a major initiative on civil rights and signed the historic limited test ban treaty. He founded the Peace Corps and sought in the June 10, 1963 American University speech to end the Cold War and to reach out to those in Russia and Cuba who shared "our common humanity" to build a new world based on diplomacy and common endeavor. All this is documented in Jim Douglas's great Orbis published book JFK and the Unspeakable. (Note the key role that Pope John XXIII played in all this.) The Cuban Missile Crisis had a profound impact on Jack and that last year of his life began a new page not only for him but, I think, for the whole world. He was a very different man from the Cold Warrior who had just beat Nixon. The powers that be in the CIA, the Pentagon, and who knows where else in Wall Street just couldn't let JFK's new direction take hold. Defense spending would go way down and Russians would be taking vacations in Rockaway (now, of course, they live there!). But that's another story. Jack's death along with Martin's and Bobby's made me very cynical and, rather than give into that, I've helped found the Peace Studies movement, worked with peace groups like Pax Christi and the FOR and tried to give every student I teach some of the hope and idealism that I experienced during the Kennedy years. Oh, Jack lives on OK. I've never shared these thoughts before since I'm not sure those who weren't alive then can appreciate the true tragedy of that day. But since you asked for some reflections from those of us who were in Maryknoll then I feel free to remember those happy days with many who shared them at GE, the Novitiate, and the Knoll. Joe Fahey josephjfahey@gmail.com
David Stang DAVID STANG ; Joe Fahey, thank you very much for this memory and for reminding us about Jim Douglas' book on JFK. What great dreams this great man had and we all had with John XXIII and JFK both on the physical level and spiritual level. Coming down from those dreams has not been easy as we know life continually evolves and the fight to be more human never ends. For those who were ordained in 64 we were instilled with great idealism due to these two people JFK and JohnXXIII. I know I have forever been grateful. I asked my wife about her experience. She said she was in High School in Little Rock Ark. Her parents were Baptists as were many of the kids in her school and white. She said she remembers smiling that this Eastern Catholic was gone. She said she is embarrassed at this memory. She remembers the great upheaval of the police enforcing the right of a black girl to enter this white domain during this time and that she was very embarrassed. How complicated life is in this complicated world. Brazil is now working on taking away land from the Indigenous and the Black Slaves who were given land 500 years ago and have fought 500 years to keep it. Regivaldo, Dorothy's mastermind killer has just won his Habeas Corpus again from the Supreme Court even though the State of Para has condemned him. We are still waiting to see if he will be ordered to stand trial again in the State of Para. In the meantime he is free to terrorize the people in the Amazon forest. Last year Brazil has forgiven all who have stolen Amazonian land in the past. This year the destruction of the Amazon has increased 23%. In the meantime the Phillipines has been devastated with terrible weather as has the East Coast. Our dreams continue to be challenged. We had dreams of taking on the mafia in the Amazon. Maybe they still exist. So thank you Joe Fahey for bringing a little light to our day with this awesome memory of JFK and John XXIII. May these two help us to be more human. David Stang
Ed Flanigan babaelf@roadrunner.com OK you guys, you asked and I'm vividly remembering.... On that fateful day during the post-lunch manual-labor time, I was on the second floor of the Knoll, designing the ordination garments for our Class of '64, to be delivered to our nuns who would stitch up the final garments... And having been given a very small transistor radio [they were new then] by my dad, I was listening to something or other when the program got interrupted by Walter Cronkite, announcing the solemn but definitive words, that JFK had succumbed to gunshot wounds in Dallas and was now gone..... The shock and numbness that immediately ensued was followed by a Thursday Thanksgiving Day dinner/celebration at the home of my classmate, Phil Bowers in PA. I only remember it as being the saddest, most unbelievable Thanksgiving I'd ever non-celebrated...I was numb from head to toe that entire weekend and well beyond..... ed flanagan, 64....
Frank Breen I don't know what day we were invested with the cassock but am certain it was not on the same day as JFK's death. I think there were two student dining rooms that year. I remember in the dining room where I was for lunch that it was the Vice-Rector George Putnam who rang the bell at the end of the meal and announced that there were reports that the President had been shot. I and many students made a beeline for a student television set (I forget whether there was only one or two) and watched the news for 20 to 30 minutes. I am not sure if we had permission to watch TV at mid-day in those days, but apparently we were given permission to do so not only that day but over the weekend. Frank Breen
Scott Clark scottandlaurie_1@comcast.net I don't remember the exact date, but I do remember JFK's assassination and it was not the day of our investiture. Scott Clark
Mike Chudalski Ray, I don't know why, but I seem to remember sitting in front of the TV in the rec room watching the funeral wearing the cassock. If I am correct then the investiture would have been earlier than November 22nd. Mike Chudalski csharonmike@aol.com ;
Chris Bradley ChrisBradley42@live.com Pretty sure November 22nd.
Tom Thompson Tom Thompson November 21 sticks in my head ... but its an old grey head :)
Jim Huvane Happy and Prayerful Greetings and Good Wishes this Thanksgiving Season. I will be especially remembering all of you, and your intentions in my Mass and Prayers today on this 50th Anniversary of our Investiture, ever grateful for the Grace and Blessing each of you were in my life in those formative (And FUN!) days. God Bless the days that saw us Young, and the years that made us Wise. Love & prayers, Jim Huvane Jhuvane@maryknoll.org