The Day the Earth Stood Still

I remember the day that the president was shot.  Father Kramer, our principal at the time, announced on the PA System: “We have just received word that our president has been shot.”  I remember a sudden gasp from the room.  Sister John Mary brought her hand to her face.  For the first time that morning, the class became quiet.  A few minutes later, our principal was on the PA again:  “Our president is dead!”  More gasps and now there was a sudden stillness.   In not too long we had our lunch period.  Words were exchanged, but there was a reverence for our president that made us speak softly.  There was no yelling or running from place to place.  A solemnity came over us that was very unusual for high school students on their lunch break.  I remember talking to Joe Cole.  There was little to say.

I often wonder why we became so quiet.  Were we finally old enough to understand the significance of what had happened?  Or did we simply feel that there was something incredibly wrong with the idea of someone shooting our young and popular president?

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