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We remember the day JFK died

  • Roy Wallano
    Roy Wallano
Published November 22. 2013 05:00PM

The death of President John F. Kennedy sent shock waves through the country. At 43 years old, he was the youngest man and first Roman Catholic to hold that office. Elected in 1960, he was the 35th president of the United States and was loved by the masses.

President Kennedy confronted mounting Cold War tensions in Cuba, Vietnam and elsewhere. He also led a renewed drive for public service and eventually provided federal support for the growing civil rights movement.

His assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, was felt around the world and turned Kennedy into a heroic icon.

Anyone who was alive that day remembers Kennedy's death with a clarity that 50 years of life can't erase.

Many of today's seniors were school children or young adults when they heard the tragic news of his death that day.Some area readers share their memories of that fateful day.

John Duransky of Jim Thorpe was 18 years old and had just started his first full-time job working in a print shop when he heard that the president was shot.

"Who would shoot the president?" he said, remembering how he responded to the news from a co-worker. "I was in shock."

Duransky said the boss let the whole shop go home.

"I couldn't believe what happened," he added. "We had so much hope for the future. We couldn't believe that such a thing could happen."Roy Wallano of Jim Thorpe was a 19-year-old living in Austin, Texas when the dreadful news came that Kennedy was shot.

"I was married and at work when the shooting occurred," he said. "My wife told me the news and I will never forget the horrible day."

Wallano was working in a store and he said he really liked the president.

"I felt the president was a good person to be president the best ever. I will never forget the day," he said. "I started crying because I didn't know what else to do."

Wallano continued, "I really miss him. I think he was a great president."

Helene Dombroski, Albrightsville, was married and living in a little apartment in Philadelphia when the news came over the television that President Kennedy was shot.

"I was so amazed," she said. "When I saw Ruby shoot Oswald it was so unbelievable. So terrible. So sad. I couldn't believe that something like that would happen."

Dombroski said that she was glued to her television afterward to watch the funeral.

"It's so hard to believe that nearly the entire family is gone, except for Caroline. That family had a lot of grief."

Richard Hubert, Lake Harmony, at 24, was on the floor of the dental clinic when one of his friends told him that President Kennedy had been shot.

"I was a junior at dental school at Ursinus College," he said.

"My friend was a freshman and I remember the election. I had voted for Kennedy. It was a close election."

He noted that Kennedy had stimulated the economy with the depletion law and cut taxes.

Hubert explained the depletion law was favorable to businesses.

"I actually saw Kennedy," he said. "I grew up in northeast Philadelphia and he was on a motorcade that went up Frankfort Avenue. I remember running along side of the car. I was within seven to eight feet of him."

Hubert described Kennedy as "special."

"He had charisma," he said. "There was a feeling there that he was different. He had a presence."

Hubert said that there was such a turnout who wanted to see Kennedy on Caster Avenue that the motorcade took a couple of hours to get through the throng of people.

"When he won northeast Pennsylvania, that gave him the win," said Hubert. "He was the first president that I know of that helped business. He worked with the unions and was fair about it."

Hubert said that President Kennedy was not a liberal, but had a good economic policy.

"Kennedy was an impressive man," he said. "I remember being the first guy at Ursinus College who admitted to voting for Kennedy in my senior year."

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