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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Afternoon the President Was Shot

 On the afternoon of November 22, 1963, I was fill-in wire editor of the Elmira Star-Gazette, working with printers out in the composing room to assemble Page One of that day's paper. 

A copy boy who had been sneaking a peek at the AP wireless machines came running in: "The president has been shot!"

Three messages had been transmitted:

        DALLAS, Tex. AP -- Two priests who were with President Kennedy say he is          dead of bullet wounds.

       DALLAS, Tex. AP -- Two priests stepped out of Parkland Hospital's emergency       ward today and said President Kennedy died of his bullet wounds. Government       sources in Washington said that President Kennedy is dead.

     The priests came out of  the ward at approximately 1:37 p.m.

     The announcement by the priests brought audible sobs from a crowd of scores         of newsmen and other citizens crowded around the emergency ward entrance.

      Sen. Ralph Yarborough, talking only a few minutes before to newsmen,                    collapsed in sobs as he told of witnessing the slaying of the president. 

         DALLAS, Tex. AP -- President Kennedy died at 1 p.m. Friday from an                     assassin's bullet.

I saved the printout with the family archives, and years later my journalist-author daughter Maureen had it framed and gave it to me as a gift. The printout doesn't capture the horror of that day, but it triggers powerful memories.

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