My family has asked what was the first major news story I remember living through as a child.
How would you reply?
I remember in no particular order the fall of the Berlin wall, the concomitant collapse of the USSR, the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, man’s first landing on the moon, the Los Angeles riots, the anti-Vietnam war protests, Woodstock, arrival of the Beatles, rise and fall of Elvis Presley, Watergate, the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the mainstreaming of color tv’s, computers, photocopiers, and cell phones, introduction of the birth control pill, legalization of abortion, assassinations of John Lennon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the wounding of President Ronald Reagan, forced busing and racial integration of schools, 9/11, the trailing end of the Beat movement, the rise of the Hippy movement, then the disco movement, white guys playing pro basketball, Earl the Pearl Monroe, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas, Cassius Clay, Lew Alcindor, the Boston Strangler, Ted Bundy, Jim Jones, David Koresh, the Chicago Seven, the Jesus Movement, and 60’s cults like the Moonies and the Hare Krishnas.
But the first major news story that I remember well has to be the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.
I was a nine year-old boy attending a one-room country school at the time. My mother came to pick me up after lunch to take me to Yankton. I was to get my first pair of eye glasses.
I opened the passenger door of our family car, idling in the school’s gravel driveway, and I hopped in. Mom looked at me most soberly as though to prepare me for awful news. “President Kennedy has been shot,” she told me.
I didn’t really know how to respond. I do recall the sadness all about me, Walter Cronkite on the news explaining the details of what was known, the eventual black-and-white coverage of the funeral procession, the photo spread in Life Magazine.
The nation seemed to know how to mourn, dressing in black, speaking in hushed tones.
I wonder if the nation would know now.
There does approach a great mourning, for there approaches a global tragedy.
The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over the fall of that great city Babylon, for in one hour her judgment will come (Rev. 18:10-11).
That will be a story to remember.
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