Most people reading this were not even born yet. Kennedy and Lincoln were just footnotes in the history books for most people.

Two assassinated presidents — ho hum — who’s on The Voice tonight?

For those of us who lived through that time it was much more than a footnote.

The thought of a president being murdered on November 22, 1963 was unthinkable. We’ll be putting a man on the moon just six short years later.

This wasn’t the wild, wild, west, or the Roaring Twenties — it was the beginning of Camelot.

It was The Dawn of the Age of Aquarius.

Harmony and understanding, peace and love abound.

Yet over the months that followed three quick bullets ended the life of John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

The country was dumbfounded. Our understanding of right and wrong became skewed. All our heroes were falling and lessors taking their place.

All the societal norms begin falling apart. The disillusioned youth turned to Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll to ease the pain.

On May 4, 1970 four students are gunned down by National Guardsmen at Kent University.

The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. (Source)

It was hard to comprehend that our own military could murder American citizens. That hate gravitated to returning Vietnam War soldiers.

Our country would never be the same.

The only event more horrific than this time period would have been 9/11 when the country again changed course and we again questioned the direction America would take.

Some Final Thoughts

Where was I when Kennedy was shot? I was on my way to a Manufacturing Management class on the campus of Western Illinois University.

A student, whom I didn’t know, was walking toward me and told me classes were cancelled — the president had been shot. It was 1:15 CST.

For the next several days we were glued to black and white TV screens wherever we could find them and then to the funeral of the president in the days that followed.

The innocence that had once been America was over — it was time for a new reality.

A reality none of us were ready for.

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