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Audio: Gainesville Reflections On 50th Anniversary Of JFK Assassination

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At a time when they were in different parts of the country, six people who now live in Gainesville reflected this week on the memories of where they were Nov. 22, 1963, when former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Robert Porter (who begins speaking at 0:22) was at the University of Iowa attending school to become a surgeon.  On the day of Kennedy’s assassination, Porter found himself at home due to an illness.

Dick Martin (0:56) was in the army and on his way back to Maryland after returning from a training exercise. He found out about Kennedy’s assassination when he was riding in a Jeep on Interstate 95 and another car on the interstate flagged him down and told him to listen to the radio.

Susan Williams (1:36) was a junior in high school. Williams said she was sitting in the football bleachers for a pep rally they were having for the football game that night.

She said his death was announced over the loud speaker (1:50), which killed the pep rally.

Nancy Torres (2:09) was teaching classes in Mount Pleasant, Mich., at Central Michigan University. She remembered waking up that morning to watch the news. Kennedy had come down to the lobby of his hotel and the reporters said to him, “Where’s Jackie?” and, “We want to see Jackie!”

“Well she’s worth waiting for isn’t she?” Kennedy said. That was something Torres said she will always remember.

Walter Kalaf (2:50) was a senior minister in Jacksonville, Fla., preparing his sermon. He heard the news when his wife came home.

Audrey Christiansen (3:27) was a second-grade teacher at the time of Kennedy’s assassination. Christiansen said she was able to relate to Kennedy because he had a son that was almost 3 years old as well. She said Kennedy’s son’s birthday may have been the day of the funeral.

About Megan Gannon

Megan is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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