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posted: 11/18/2013 5:00 AM

Excitement about JFK started with his local visit

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JFK was the first politician I knew anything about. I became interested in the upcoming election as a middle school student in Lake Zurich.

We talked about the election in social studies and one day we were told that Sen. Kennedy was going to motorcade down the road in front our school. We assembled out along the road and waited for the motorcade. When it arrived, Sen. Kennedy was riding in an open car and stopped in front of us, stood up and waved and greeted the students of May Whitney Elementary School. It was a very exciting day for us. I became more interested in the election and watched with interest as JFK won.

Moving forward to Nov. 22, 1963, I entered my geometry class after lunch. I noticed that our usually jovial teacher, Mr. McNitt, was very somber. This was unusual because he, Mr. Donnan, and Mr. Boatright were always together as class began, going into each others' rooms and joking with the students. On this day McNitt was the only one in the room and he told us to sit down and take out our textbooks. Mr. Donnan walked into our room without his usual grin and said, "He died at 1 o'clock." McNitt then told us that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, earlier in the day.

It was a grim time for America. Over the years I have been involved in politics and have often wondered how things may have been different if JFK had served as president for two full terms. His death has had a very profound effect on me as a person: President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was murdered on my 15th birthday.

Thomas A. Weber Sr.


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