November 21, 2013

ABBOTT; Remembering that weekend half a century ago

Each generation has a formative moment. For the Greatest Generation and the Silent Majority, the moment was December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For my millennial son’s generation, the events of 9/11/01 are seared into memory.

For Baby Boomers, the day President Kennedy was shot is that moment.

An ordinary Friday at South Whitley Elementary School, teacher Jane Stump led 30 first graders in the Pledge of Allegiance at precisely 8:20 a.m.

We worked on an art project that morning, making Thanksgiving decorations. Using my chubby, oversized pencil, I traced my left hand on brown construction paper. With sticky Elmer’s Paste, I glued feathers of orange, yellow and red paper, and finished with my crayons. My 64-pack of Crayola’s – with the special sharpener – was still pristine in its yellow box.

Near lunchtime, Mrs. Stump marched us through the green-tiled hallway to the cafeteria. Balancing a yellow plastic tray with a glass milk bottle precariously to one side challenged any six-year-old. Twice that fall I dropped my tray, shattering my pride and the glass milk bottle.

That day there were no accidents.

Mrs. Stump prayed before our meal as she and every other teacher did throughout my elementary school years. Madelyn Murray O’Hair’s influence wasn’t yet felt in this small town in northeastern Indiana, even though prayer was officially removed from public schools that year.

Shortly after lunch our principal came to the classroom door and motioned for Mrs. Stump to come out into the hall. Returning, the shaken Mrs. Stump told us President Kennedy had been shot.

At 6, I didn’t know what that meant. Every male over ten years old had a gun; boys started with a Daisy pellet gun for shooting tin cans off a fence, or other egregious things parents aren’t supposed to know. For adults, guns were for hunting, shooting deer or quail or an errant coyote.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • COATS: What to do next with Putin, Ukraine The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 28, 2014

  • LYONS: The most powerful men in the world? Search the phrase “the most powerful man in the world” and what comes up are photos of grotesquely over-developed weightlifters; also Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Awfully ironic under present circumstances. It’s a cant term TV news anchors use to

    July 28, 2014

  • CEPEDA: What are students to eat now Remember last year’s hysteria over school lunches? Administrators, cafeteria workers, students and parents across the country freaked out when — gasp! — school lunches were made healthier.News reports throughout the 2012-13 school year — when lunch s

    July 27, 2014

  • HOWEY: Rising up to meet Putin’s thuggery Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my papers and note pads

    July 27, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Congress scolded for its failures Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Hamilton and fell

    July 27, 2014

  • DORAN: How to handle the pool problem By Terry DoranGuest columnistAs a longtime board member of the parks board and having grown up nearby, it troubles me to read of the decision to close the city pool at Tower Park. This is obviously not a new discussion. I sat in on many meetings with

    July 27, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.