This picture of Jackie is so haunting. She was so beautiful and so happy that day.
There are some moments which are ingrained into one’s mind. I was just a little kid, but I can remember sitting there in school, everyone stunned. The moment sticks out for one specific thing. It was the first time in my life that I remember praying. I sat there, like everyone else, in stunned silence, praying for the president, his wife, and his small children. A few minutes later, a teacher poked her head in the classroom and said just two words. “He’s dead.”
I was just a little kid. I did not really know what was happening. I did not understand the historical significance. Little kids put things into perspective, to match their world view. All I knew was there were to children who no longer had a father. That’s all that mattered in my limited world.
Two little kids lost a father that day. It set into place a legacy of tragedy that, in many ways is unequal in this nation’s history. It reminds me of the statement to whom much is given, much is expected.
Never a November 22 goes by without me thinking about that afternoon. We were playing outside, during a late recess. We were little kids. At that time, little kids in school were allowed to spend as much time playing as we did learning. Because of that, we learned far more than kids to, today. There was shouting that something bad had happened and everyone was to go back to their classrooms, immediately. Because I was such a small child, the gravity of the situation did not impact as much as did the behavior of the adults around me.
So, I prayed. I think, perhaps for me, the legacy of that day was the fact that I first began praying.
I still do.