Some of the most important events in my life up to President Kennedy’s assassination took place while I was at sea. Family births, family deaths, almost all the major holidays and, of course, President Kennedy’s death.
It was a life I had chosen. The Navy is the one branch of the military that can keep its personnel from getting the news. This applies only to those who are at sea. So it was for me and all aboard our ship in the North Atlantic.
No radio, we were completely cut off from the outside world. The only news we received was that which our Skipper provided. We suspected something was going on because we went into a full alert status. At sea, that’s a big deal. ...
It was not until sometime later that we learned the truth. It was March before we put back into port, when we could finally ferret out some of the particulars.
Should our commander-in-chief ever die due to an act of violence, the military automatically goes on full alert. We may not know who the enemy is, where they are or what their plan might be, but we are ready, come what may!
I have always found it interesting that Oct. 22, 1962, marked the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis and 13 months later, to the day, President Kennedy was assassinated. All on the 22nd of the month.
Started with a playground rumor
It was my first year of teaching seventh grade at Briscoe Junior High School in Beverly (now Briscoe Middle School). Our class had been outposted to the Upton School for that year due to overcrowding at the main building.
Shortly after dismissing my homeroom for the day, one of my young students returned from the playground excitedly exclaiming, “Mr. Rand, President Kennedy has been shot, President Kennedy’s been shot.” Mustering up my best “teacher talk” (with three months’ experience), I said to her, “Now, Sharon, it is not nice to spread playground rumors. Now run along.”