During Kennedy's election campaign I was still at school and JFK was someone we admired - he combined charisma, looks and idealism. Young and energetic-looking for a world leader, he made such a contrast with our own elderly Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who seemed to epitomise the stuffy Edwardian period of 60 years past. We also poured over the photographs of Jackie Kennedy (the Princess Diana of her day), with her flicked hair, little pill box hats and stylish shift dresses.
We saw on TV JFK's powerful inauguration speech, his meeting with Khrushchev, his speech at the Berlin Wall and my father got up during the night to hear on the radio his statement on the Cuban missile crisis which threatened world peace in a nuclear age. We felt part of a new era.
I had never lost anyone close to me, yet President Kennedy's death hit me hard. For a long time I kept the newspapers covering the tragedy and I bought a memorial book of his life. Perhaps it was something to do with the impact of television bringing it much closer to home - we saw the motor cavalcade and the shots being fired; Jackie Kennedy still in the bright pink. now blood splatted. suit as she witnessed the swearing in of the new President: the solemn lying in state ceremony at the Capitol as Jackie and her little daughter Caroline knelt beside the coffin; and yet more violence with the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. I stayed off university lectures to watch the funeral on TV and wept at the sight of Jackie and her two young children.
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"Momentous Moments where big history and small history collide"