Open Thread - 06-24-22 - The Day America Died
Update: Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
I was born in the mid 50s. I don't remember much of that decade except maybe at the tail end, let's say '59 or '60. I'm sure I have memories from then but I really can't associate my earliest memories with a time frame. The 60s was when my memories really kicked in.
I was nine years old and going to school in a very rural part of central Illinois, a little farming town named Heyworth. It was a Friday, not long after lunch. There was a lot of commotion going on out in the hallways. Teachers were shuffling around, some were crying, there were loud voices but not quite loud enough to understand what was being said. We classmates looked at each other with quizzical looks on our faces. This was very odd behavior for the adult teaching staff, we had no idea what had just happened.
Our teacher kept nervously looking out the classroom door and then finally went out into the hall and closed the door behind her. She came back in and looked sheepish as she again closed the door behind her. She walked to the chalkboard and wrote these letters: PKHBA. She told our class that this was the first letters of words that formed a sentence and that this was a puzzle. She asked us to try to solve it as she left again and closed the classroom door behind her. Chatter went up among the class, some wondering what was going on, some trying to decipher the puzzle, and some, of course, goofed off. Myself, I sat there silently wondering what all the commotion was about.
After a while the teacher re-entered the room with a solemn look on her face. We could see the tracks of tears down her cheeks as her attention focused on the letters she had written on the chalkboard. She walked up to the chalkboard and proceeded to solve her puzzle for us. We were spellbound.
It was Friday, November 22, 1963. The letters she had written spelled out this sentence: President Kennedy Has Been Assassinated.
We were let out of school early that day. The ride home on the bus was quiet. The gravity of the event had not fully sunk in to my nine year old mind yet. What I didn't realize until many years later was that America had died that fateful day. That day that was forever scorched into my psyche. It was not only the aberration of a US President being shot and killed, but also the modus operandi of the teacher and her puzzle. To this day that just seemed an odd way to break that news to a classroom of students.
America would never be the same after that awful day in November.
Much has subsequently been written and discussed about that day. Personally, I believe Lyndon Johnson ordered the assassination, IMHO. We'll probably all be dead before the truth comes out though, if ever.
The path of history has been quite bizarre since then, I know because I have lived it. I believe that the circumstances we are now living through have roots that lead directly to that dreadful day.