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50 years after JFK's assassination, memories still vivid for Sonoma County residents

  • In this Friday, Nov. 22, 1963 file photo, seen through the foreground convertible's windshield, President John F. Kennedy's hand reaches toward his head within seconds of being fatally shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm as the motorcade proceeds along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. Gov. John Connally was also shot. (AP Photo/James W. "Ike" Altgens)

Scott Bartley was eating lunch at grade school. Mary Jo Henrikson was ironing. Mike Micheel had just ordered a drink at a London hotel.

Doug Bosco, then a 16-year-old Congressional page, sat by himself in the lobby at the entrance of the U.S. House of Representatives chambers, near the speaker's office, doing his homework.

The teletype machine near Bosco emitted a loud ding, signaling an important news story coming across the wires.

JFK's Assassination: 50 Years Later


1:09 Bulletin Dallas (AP) — President Kennedy was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy. She cried, Oh, No! The motorcade sped on.

Bosco couldn't believe what he read. An entire nation didn't believe it at first. But a half-century later, nobody who was alive on Nov. 22, 1963, can forget where they were and what they were doing when they first learned that their president had been shot.

I was a young mother living in Oakland. I was ironing and watching television when the news broke in that the president had been shot. Then Walter Cronkite came on to give the word that JFK was dead. I picked up my daughter, Anne Marie, and we ran to the front door. Some men outside were putting in new sewer pipes. I called out to them to let them know that JFK was shot and killed. Every man dropped his shovel and ran up my stairs and into my living room to watch the news. My daughter and I went to the kitchen and I made hot tea to serve the men. They sat in my living room watching the TV and we all cried. It wasn't until they left and my husband got home that we noticed the men had tracked in mud on our carpets and stairs.

— Mary Jo Henrikson, Oakmont

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