Where Were You?

Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was shot? Wednesday on the Daily Show Tom Brokaw said that the assassination of President Kennedy was such a major turning point in history that most people who were alive at the time can tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news. 

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

My grade five class at Southwood School in Steinbach in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Helmut Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

I was in my grade five classroom at Southwood School in Steinbach Manitoba when I heard the President had been shot. My classmates and I were in the middle of painting plaster of Paris maps of Canada we had made. Someone from the school office came to give my teacher Mr. Klassen the news and he turned on the radio so we could listen to the media coverage as we worked. We had just come back to school after the lunch break. Every classroom had a radio in those days because our music instruction classes were provided once a week over the air by  CBC radio. 

Even though we were Canadian kids we knew all about President Kennedy because our class had been following the civil rights debates in the United States. Our teacher had taught us about President Kennedy’s attempts to get a Civil Rights Act passed in Congress. We’d even had our own classroom debate on the issue of civil rights with the class divided into teams that argued for opposing views. 

I was quite a fan of the Kennedys and had a folder of magazine photos and newspaper clippings  saved about JFK and Jackie and the wider Kennedy family.  Later I used what became a  huge personal collection of Kennedy material  for a project I did on Robert Kennedy in my grade ten American history class. 

Our family had just bought our first black and white television in 1963 so I was able to watch some of the news coverage of the JFK shooting and funeral service at home. 

I was down on my hands and knees on the floor of my grade five classroom in the Southwood School in Steinbach, Manitoba painting a large plaster of Paris map of Canada when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot. Where were you? 

Other related posts………

The Old Kornelson School 

 A Published Author at Age 10

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