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Wadena residents remember the death of an American President

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U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, were all smiles as they rode through a crowd on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was assassinated that day in one of the most dramatic and remembered events of the 20th Century. Submitted photo4 / 7
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Mary Schmit

"I was in the eighth grade at St. Ann's School in Wadena. I remember it was a math class. It was just as if time stopped, everything stopped. Our pastor came in and told us, and it was just quiet. We all said a prayer."

Verne Bowman

"I don't really remember where I was at the moment. We didn't hear about it at the moment. We heard it later on. I had many thoughts afterward. You didn't expect it that something like that could possibly happen."

Sharon Boline

"I was in my apartment in Wadena with my five-month-old son (Patrick), my first child. It was just unbelievable, I could not believe it. I was sort of scared. Why did it happen and was something else going to happen?"

Morris Priebe

"I was working at the Equity Co-op Creamery (in Wadena). The guy who brought it to my attention was Larry Rogers, he bought a bulk truck, picked up milk and brought it to the Creamery. I honestly can't remember what I thought."

Sandy Baker

"I was in the New York Mills gym doing phy ed. I was about 13. Even at that age it was just kind of shock. I remember the whole girls' gym class just went quiet. They announced it over the P.A. It was still a very sad thing I think because my grandma (Margaret) was so much for him. I think he was very, very well-liked. Even as a young girl I had heard of him."

Doug Johnson Sr.

"I was farming east of Bertha. I heard it on the radio. He was my man. I really felt bad when he got shot. He was my man the way he wanted to handle things, the whole Kennedy Family, Bobby and all of them. I didn't want (Vice President) L.B. Johnson to be in there."

It was 100 years ago this year that a son was born into a wealthy Massachusetts family. It was 54 years ago that his death shook the world.

His name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and he was the 35th president of the United States. Kennedy was 46 at the time a sniper's bullet took his life.

Kennedy's death and the events which followed were all the more gripping because of television. The events which followed, including the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the ex-Marine who was arrested for the crime, were captured live. At his father's funeral in Washington, D.C., millions saw a young John Kennedy Jr. silently salute as his father's casket passed by.

John F. Kennedy's father, Joseph, was the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom when the Second World War began in 1939. The grand ambition of his life was to see his oldest son, Joe Jr., become president. That dream crashed in 1944 when the oldest Kennedy son was killed in a B-24 bomber over England. The ambitious patriarch of the Kennedys eventually threw his support behind his second son.

John Kennedy was a Harvard graduate who was decorated while serving as a combat officer in the United States Navy from 1941 to 1945. He went into politics after leaving the Navy and wrote "Profiles in Courage", which won a Pulitzer Prize. In the presidential election of 1960 he narrowly defeated Richard Nixon to become the first Roman Catholic to hold the office of chief executive.

Kennedy was a man of wit, humor and charisma. He was no saint and he made his share of mistakes during his three years in office - mistakes that led to the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis and a long war in Vietnam. Yet it is undeniable that Kennedy's vision of what the younger generation of America could accomplish led to a dynamic decade. Six years after his death the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) fulfilled a Kennedy pledge when they landed the first man on the moon.

History has shown there are events which affect people to such a great degree that it freezes a moment in time for them they never forget. Kennedy's assassination was one of those moments for millions of Americans, including many in Wadena.

It was Nov. 22, 1963. JFK and his wife, Jackie, were riding in the back seat of an 1961 Lincoln Continental in a motorcade traveling along Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was struck in the back of the head by a rifle shot at approximately 12:30 p.m. and hurried to a nearby hospital.