Thursday, January 20, 2011

50 years ago today


I was carefully watching John F. Kennedy's inauguration on January 20, 1961, on television.    Not only was this a very exciting and very new step in our country, but my brother was also there and I was hoping for a possible glimpse.

My brother, at the time, was a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He was in the select group that was in Washington, D.C. this very cold day.  He and his classmates marched past President Kennedy and extended a respectful salute.  No, I did not glimpse my brother that day, but I knew he was there.

Fast forward two years and 5 months.  I was a guest at the Air Force Academy Graduation on June 6, 1963.  My brother was graduating as a Lieutenant in the Air Force and President John F. Kennedy was the commencement speaker.  It was a proud day with lots of joyful tears and excitement.  No one at that time ever dreamed the horrible tragedy that would follow the following November.  It was a part of history that affected me very strongly. 


  1. Anonymous12:05 PM

    Susan, I was in the study hall at Amana High School watching the JFK inaugural address. You were there, too, of course. The one line I remembered from the entire speech was "Ask not what your country can do for you...." Times have certainly

  2. Susan,
    How fabulous to have heard President Kennedy speak at commencement. He and Mrs. Kennedy brought a lot of excitement and sophistication to the White House. I was a sophomore home from college for the weekend that tragic November.

    The world is such a different place today.

  3. What a wonderful post. I so admired President Kennedy; it must have been a thrill for you to hear him and see him. do remember vividly that sad day; I was a new bride that year and teaching in a school in Quebec with nuns that were Americans; we were all devastated.

  4. It was such a time of such hope and tragedy.

  5. For our generation these events are never to be forgotten. Thank you for posting about them, Susan!

  6. Anonymous9:48 PM

    That is very moving. I live 20 minutes from the Air Force Academy. Wasn't even born in 1961. For me President Kennedy is a "Berliner". I wish I would have been there to see him speak, too.

  7. Susan,

    I remember this well. Great post about those days.


  8. I remember that day. It was bitter cold.
    Yes, there was so much hope then, wasn't there? The tragedy affected each and every one of us.

  9. that seems a lifetime ago now....where did the time go...sigh
    Thanks for stirring the memories

  10. Anonymous11:07 AM

    Laurie says---I know I am days behind here, but I have a story too. JFK came to campaign in our city-Eau Claire WI and my brother in law's father was a big deal in the EC county Dem. party and so he got to escort JFK to the University arena (which at the time was the a Wisconsin State Teachers College) where he would speak. I lived right across the street. My family were diehard Republicans and so it was not like we were nuts over JFK. However, we did get to see him get out of the car he was in as he was escorted to the arena. (Many years later I would see and shake the hand of Richard Nixon in the same place when he was campaigning--strange to think of that). Of course JFK won,however, my father had nothing good to say about him and especially about old Joe Kennedy whom my father loathed. But when JFK was assasinated, (I was in 7th grade and like everyone remember exactly where I was, what I was doing-eating lunch- and the TV screen)my father wept along with the rest of us watching the sad processionals and end of camelot. How brief it was, but how unforgetable.