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I found a block long line of people waiting when I arrived at our office Monday morning. Marine guards standing at attention flanked the entrance. Inside, a photo of President Kennedy and a leather bound book of condolences rested on a reception table covered in black cloth. An American flag stood at the side of the table, garlands of colorful flowers behind it.
Three year old John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes his father casket in Washington, three days after the president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.(Photo: Uncredited)The John F. Kennedy presidential commission adorning my office wall evokes vivid memories, both exciting and sad. Witnessing President Kennedy's charm and wit in Washington provided an exhilarating experience for a young Foreign Service officer from Guthrie Center. Later, while posted to Geneva, Switzerland, I shed tears watching Jackie Kennedy preside over her husband's funeral.
President Kennedy is dead
The procession continued throughout the day until we closed the door to attend an evening memorial service at a local cathedral.
A week after President Kennedy's burial, our post received a State Department film of the funeral services. We watched what millions of Americans had already seen: the horse drawn caisson bearing the president's flag draped casket while muffled drums rolled and thumped in the background, the riderless horse, the heads of states walking in the procession.
Jim invited me to play touch football, a hallmark of the Kennedy era, on Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963. It never happened.
Did I hear correctly? I called our office, where a Marine guard, Doug Spilde from Hudson, Ia., was on duty. "It's true," Doug said. "The president has been wounded."
We spent the rest of the week, even Thanksgiving Day, packaging hundreds of gifts to send to Jacqueline Kennedy. Included were sympathy cards, books, poems, teddy bears, dolls and several portraits of the late president.
I opened the door. The first of hundreds to sign the sympathy book entered as I stood beside the flag. Some shook my hand and expressed their sorrow. Some brought gifts. Some wrote mournful messages. Many wept. I fought tears.
Sobs broke the silence when the black veiled Jackie Kennedy prompted her 3 year old son to salute his father's passing casket.
I was at home listening to the radio, it was nighttime. A frantic voice interrupted the program with a report in French that shots had been fired at a motorcade of President Kennedy.
A Foreign Service Association luncheon presented my first opportunity to see JFK in person. Knowing the sensitivities of the audience toward political appointees as ambassadors, he remarked, "I try to appoint the best ambassadors possible, and that is typically a Foreign Service officer." He paused. "But, of course, I have to find a job for the guy who helped me win the West Virginia primary."
I jumped in my car, turned on the radio, and sped along the 10 minute route to the teletype in our downtown headquarters. Halfway there, the radio went silent. A pause followed. Then a deep, halting voice made an announcement ending with five history changing words: "Le prsident Kennedy est mort." (President Kennedy is dead.)
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I later assisted with seating arrangements for President Kennedy's press conferences, which were held in the State Department auditorium, always saving a front row seat for myself. I watched with admiring amusement as he jousted with journalists, particularly the pesky May Craig.
Iowans recall the Kennedy assassination as a noon hour event. In Switzerland, where Adidas Cleats White And Gold
His statement, wrapped in humor, caused the audience to laugh at themselves.
My Adidas Cleats Glitch Pack boss, Dick Carson, called early the next day. "Isn't this just ghastly?" he said. "But we've got work to do. There's a lot of ritual connected with a president's death. The Protocol Office sent a foot long cable with required preparations. I need you in the office right away."
Dick and I worked throughout the weekend at a multitude of tasks that included sending notifications to dignitaries, arranging a book of condolences, creating a black outlined photo of President Kennedy, coordinating crowd control with the Marine contingent, contacting a cathedral concerning a memorial service, ordering flowers and keeping Ambassador Tubby informed of our plans.
diplomatic mission in Geneva, as the assistant administrative officer. Three of my new colleagues had close ties to JFK. Jim Devine was an old friend from Kennedy's Harvard days, and Roger Tubby, our ambassador, and Leonard Wilson held key positions in his presidential campaign.
My eyes moistened. My heart raced. Minutes later, I entered an office filled with inconsolable colleagues crowded around the news spouting teletype, sobbing and hugging.
When ambassadors and other dignitaries arrived, I escorted them, one at a time, to Ambassador Tubby's nearby office for personal expressions of regret.
overflowed with mourners of many countries, of many faiths, of many colors, united in their grief over the death of an esteemed international leader.
My connections with the Kennedy administration continued when later assigned to the American Adidas Football Cleats Black
The image of the composed and gallant Mrs. Kennedy leading the nation in dignified, respectful mourning endured. When a baby girl arrived in our household the next year, we named her Jackie.
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