A Solemn Commemoration

JFK in Bowling Green

JFK riding in the Bowling Green motorcade, 1960. Donated by Gerald Givens.

Over the past two months approximately 100 people have submitted remembrances of John F. Kennedy’s (JFK) visit to Bowling Green in October 1960 or of his 1963 assassination in Dallas to the JFK Memory Project at WKU. Many of them have been quite touching. Eventually all the remembrances will be archived for posterity in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives of the Special Collections Library. Besides remembrances, people have also donated memorabilia and photographs such as the one featured here that was given by Gerald Givens. Because of the good response, the deadline for remembrances to be submitted has been extended until Presidents Day, Monday, February 17, 2014.

Here are two brief, but memorable, local remembrances:

“The next day, I traveled to Bowling Green with my Dad and Granddad to see Western play Murray in the last regular season game of the year. Many games were cancelled across the country. Western was undefeated and went on to win that cold day….but what I remember most was that a lone bugler stuck his bugle out a window from the old fieldhouse….and in total silence the crowd stood while he played “Taps” in memory of the President.”  Bill Edwards, Bowling Green

“As I recall the autumn of 1963 was dry but towards the last of November a change in the weather was expected. My raincoat needed replacing so on November 22 I met my mother for lunch at the Dixie Café and then went to Norman’s to shop. Just as I was trying on a coat, a distraught Ruby Norman approached us to say the President had been shot. The three of us stood together, a trio of agonized disbelief. Soon I bought the coat and went in search of more news. As many others did, I saw and heard Walter Cronkite’s announcing Kennedy’s death. And the world was forever changed. As for the raincoat, I never wore it.” Ann Dickey, Bowling Green

To see more about the JFK Memory Project at WKU click here. To send a remembrance, simply type your thoughts in an e-mail to mssfa@wku.edu or send it as an attachment to the message.

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