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posted: 11/18/2013 5:00 AM

'Presidents don't get shot nowadays, do they?'

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A small town in New Jersey, outdoor PE class on a warm November afternoon, sixth grade, 11 years old -- and as we filed back into the building, one of our classmates had to leave early for a dentist appointment. Her mom was picking her up but came running up to our teacher. "I just heard on my car radio that President Kennedy has been shot!"

So the teacher stopped by the school office to ask the secretary to check it out, since there was a radio in the office. Not long after that, the secretary walked from classroom to classroom (no intercom system in those days) telling us that the president was dead, school was being dismissed, and that classes were canceled until after his funeral.

It was all very unreal and strange, I remember. Presidents don't get shot and killed nowadays, do they? Just in our history books, right? But it was indeed real, and the following days had us glued to our TVs.

Bobby Xhilone


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