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"We All Put Our Heads Down on Our Desks And Prayed"

  • November 22, 2013
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As the nation reflects on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago today, here's a short essay Speaker Boehner submitted to Life Magazine:

“I was sitting in my eighth-grade class at Sts. Peter & Paul School.  It was about two or two fifteen in the afternoon.  The teacher was Sister Mary Theresa.  There wasn’t any chaos really, just anxiety.  And we all put our heads down on our desks and prayed.

“That’s really my most vivid memory of those days, prayer.  Prayed in school, prayed when we got home, went to church.  It was quiet around the house for days, mostly because we were all glued to the television watching the news and then the funeral, which was on Monday.  Having the day off from school for the funeral, that’s when it really hit home that this was a national tragedy.

“Ours was a family of Kennedy Democrats.  Not politically – we were conservative – but personally. People liked Kennedy.  World War II guy, young family, optimistic.  Had gotten us through the Cuban Missile Crisis.  So that’s how people took the loss: personally, like a death in the family.  There was shock, but great camaraderie.  Everyone came together, especially in terms of grieving for Jackie and the kids.  I never thought I’d live to see another day like that.

“Then 9/11 happened.”