"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 22, 1963

On November 22, 1963, I was four and a half years old.   The Kennedy assassination is about the first historical event I can remember experiencing in real time.  Memory is tricky, though, so I'm sure I'll be corrected by my mother and sisters if this is wrong, but I remember that my grandfather was getting married that weekend for the second time (my grandmother having died a couple of years earlier).  Maybe it was the family circumstances or maybe it was the assassination, but I remember that there was a weird vibe that weekend.   (Of course, at 4 and a half I wouldn't have used the phrase "weird vibe.")  

I do remember watching the funeral, the horse-drawn, flag-draped coffin in particular, a couple of days later, on a flickering black-and-white television that got three or four channels and had a hard time with the vertical hold.    (Does anyone remember vertical hold?)

A few years later I have clearer memories of Martin Luther King's assassination, because the news broke while I was at school in fourth grade.  


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