Airing all week on POTUS
All week long on POTUS, SiriusXM hosts are remembering the life and death of John F. Kennedy. On a special edition of SiriusXM Remembers, some of our hosts including Martha Stewart, Bob Edwards, Tim Farley, Joe Madison, Dr. Laura, Cousin Brucie and Fran Tarkenton will share their personal reflections from that fatal event in history, fifty years ago today. Below are some clips from our hosts recalling what they were doing on the very moment they heard the news.
Martha Stewart — who is a host on SiriusXM Stars — reflected back to November 22, 1963 when JFK was assassinated. She remembered how she was both a student at Barnard College and a model at the time. On that day, she was on her way to a model go-see to see if she would get a potential job, only to find a practically empty office. On hearing what had happened, she ran home to see the news on television.
“It was horribly shocking and horribly sad. And I don’t think we did anything — we were kind of paralyzed for a couple of days afterwards,” Stewart said.
Tim Farley, the host of The Morning Briefing on POTUS, recalls being just a year older than JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy at the time. Being so similar in age, he felt a “tremendous sense of sadness” almost as if she was his sister — leaving him wondering how tragic that must feel to lose one’s father.
“What must that be like, with no dad?” he said.
Joe Madison, host from the Urban View, remembers being a freshman in high school just coming out of his algebra class to hear word spreading through the hallways of the president being shot. As it was Thanksgiving weekend, his school was dismissed early, sending the kids to go home and stay “riveted” to that one TV in their living rooms for the entire weekend.
“Our entire lives had changed. A freshman in high school who saw one of the most popular presidents assassinated,” Madison said.
Fran Tarkenton, who hosts a show on Indie, recalls the day being pretty normal — he was practicing in Midway Stadium over in St. Paul, just finishing a morning football practice. Afterwards he went to grab lunch then drive back home when he heard the news on the radio. Surprisingly, the games in the NFL were not canceled that weekend, so he went on to play the Detroit Lions that same Sunday. Despite having about 40,000 people in the stands, the sense of quiet sadness reverberated through the stadium.
“It was eerie, no cheering, no booing, all silent. It was something that had a profound affect on everybody that was alive at that time,” Tarkenton said.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger — who hosts a show on SiriusXM Stars — was just about 15 at the time, being dismissed from school early to hear the news. She admits that just the thought of the president being shot was a stunner, as life during that time (the early ’60s) was “heavenly.” From that point on life became profoundly different for her.
“Finding out that our president could be assassinated, and all that came after that historically, that was — as many people have called and I’ve lived it — the end of innocence,” Schlessinger said.
Cousin Brucie admits that there are very few things in life where you remember “precisely the moment, the place, the time” — one of those moments was when he heard the news of JFK’s assassination. He remembers driving on Coney Island Avenue and Kings Highway in New York when he turned on the radio only to hear the breaking news of the president’s death. Not being able to process what had happened, he pulled his car over to catch his breath.
“I couldn’t understand why anybody would take and snuff out a life of someone so vibrant, so dynamic, so young and a leader of a nation,” Cousin Brucie said.
Bob Edwards — host on SiriusXM Public Radio — recalls being a junior in an all-boys Catholic high school in Kentucky. He admits that the president was well-loved by his school especially for the fact that he was the first Catholic president. Edwards was just about to go into the American history class of a teacher known to speak negatively about Kennedy the entire semester. “After that day, I never heard another negative word about JFK from that teacher,” Edwards said. Afterwards, Edwards went on to a planned religious retreat that weekend that was secluded from all outside news. He came back home to find out that Kennedy’s presumed killer Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby.
On a special edition of the Maggie Linton Show, the poet, educator, and activist Nikki Giovanni discusses where she was on the day President Kennedy was assassinated. She remembers being a student at the University of Cincinnati and hearing someone screaming “Kennedy’s been shot” as she walked across campus. The later events were something that Giovanni couldn’t fathom.
“I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother and father and my nephew when…my father was just like ‘Oh my god! They shot Oswald!’ So it was a hard time,” Giovanni said.
For more from SiriusXM’s week-long commemoration of President Kennedy’s life and death, click here.
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