The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Ag

November 16, 2013

We cannot ever forget

ENID, Okla. — Like most Americans of 1955 or so vintage, the lovely Catherine and I will spend time this week recalling our personal whos, whats, whens and wheres of President John F. Kennedy’s murder and funeral 50 years ago.

It is likely, though, we won’t talk much about JFK’s politics and policy because we were too young to be aware of either. The news of his assassination, however, did mark a beginning of our greater education on government, public policy and politics. That education continues.

And, yes, I remember exactly where I was and who told me of Kennedy’s death that early Friday afternoon in November 1963: I was slurping water from a drinking fountain after recess when a fourth grader, Douglas M., passed by and said, simply, “The President’s been shot and killed.”

I finished my slurp, looked up and, like any schoolboy might, said, “Nah uh.”

“Uh huh,” Doug insisted, “I ain’t lying.” He didn’t look like he was lying. “Go ask anybody,” he said.

I didn’t have to.

In the 10 minutes my classmates and I had been on the playground, the awful news of JFK’s assassination had ricocheted off of every hill and mountain in Amer-ica to reach our small Lutheran school in southern Illinois. When we returned to our desks moments later, our teacher, Mr. Tetting, led us in a prayer for the Kennedy family and our nation.

We then went home and did something we had never, ever done before: we watched television — mostly the owlishly wise-looking Walter Cronkite — during the day for the next three days.

National tragedy or not, certain farm routines continued. Cows were milked, fed and bedded, corn was picked (no farmer finished harvest by Thanksgiving back then) and church was attended.

In fact, the Sunday after the assassination, my family and I were walking the sidewalk to the backdoor of my grandparent’s house for our after-church dinner when my grandmother flung open the screen door to its tiny porch and announced, “Hurry, they just shot him! Shot him on TV!”

Him was Lee Harvey Oswald, they was Jack Ruby, and we ran up the porch steps, through the kitchen and into the living room to watch the resulting chaos on Grandpa’s big black-and-white television. We sat in silence until Grandma said, “It’s all unbelievable. I need to make gravy.”

Sometime during that family dinner it was decided my father’s family would all come to our farm the next day, Monday, a national day of mourning and the day of the presidential funeral. The plan was to hunt quail and rabbit in the morning and watch the funeral and burial in the afternoon and that’s exactly what happened.

What didn’t happen was work. I had never seen the big farm of my youth — over 900 acres, 100 milk cows, four hired men, my father — not work on a workday. This was a first and, in fact, a last.

That day a sad, respectful silence fell over our farm and nation, comparable only to the deeply sad, awful silence that followed Sept. 11, 2001.

Strange, but I don’t remember us eating the day of President Kennedy’s funeral but I know we must have. I do remember, however, almost every detail of the funeral procession because of the reverent silence the entire, extended family observed during the TV broadcast of it and the burial.

Historians say television came of age that weekend; it grew from an occasional fancy to a national need because it brought America together to grieve and grow.

And now we remember because we cannot, will never, forget.

© 2013 ag comm

1
Text Only
Ag
  • Trent Milacek web.jpg Despite poor harvest, wheat price falls

    I grew up and currently reside on our family farm southwest of Waukomis.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg Gardeners share their favorites

    Annuals only last one season, but they are important because of the great variety of flowers that keep the garden colorful throughout the summer.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conservation workshop set

    The workshop will be 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Center, 316 E. Oxford.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jeff Bedwell Consider safety of forage beforehand

    Drought conditions of the past three to four years and in particular the past eight months had hay/forage inventories at critically low levels. The most recent period ranked as the third-driest period in recorded history. Not unlike the farmers and ranchers of other times of drought, ag producers now have been very resourceful to not only replace hay supplies that have dwindled but also add much-needed revenue to farm income.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Right to Farm web 1.jpg Ag industry seeks right to farm

    The emerging battle could have lasting repercussions for the nation’s food supply and for the millions of people worldwide who depend on U.S. agricultural exports. It’s also possible the right-to-farm idea could sputter as a merely symbolic gesture that carries little practical effect beyond driving up voter turnout in local elections.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • farm - Burlington FFA web.jpg Burlington students attend camp

    More than 1,600 FFA members from 289 Oklahoma FFA chapters attended one of four three and one-half day sessions from June 29-July 12.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Oklahoma's Dirty Dozen poster 150dpi_W.jpg Poster targets invasive plants

    They all have more than four letters, but they are certainly bad words in the state of Oklahoma.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Simple steps can prevent fungus infection

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Help plants survive the summer heat

    The July hot weather has arrived, and Oklahoma State University has some suggestions for helping with our gardening needs this month.

    July 12, 2014

  • farm - 4-H_W_W.jpg State 4-H honors volunteers

    A group of dedicated parents and volunteers with Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program gathered recently in Stillwater for learning, sharing of ideas and recognition of dedication to Oklahoma’s youth.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Facebook