Many residents of Hermiston remember where they were, what they were doing and how they felt when they heard the news that John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, had been assassinated, Nov. 22, 1963. The details of that day still remain sharp and vivid in the minds to many people who were alive at the time.

Ginger Williams of Hermiston said despite her age when she heard the news, she was still able to grasp the enormity of the day.

“I was a senior in high school, so I understood what it meant,” Williams said. “We heard when we were in between classes. It was a very subdued day. Everyone was just very quiet for the rest of the day.”

Don Skeen was on active duty with the Air Force in Alaska when he heard the news that his commander-in-chief was dead.

“I was working at a radar site, and it was 35 below outside,” Skeen said.

“I was in disbelief. You didn’t expect that in this country. Also, when you’re in the military he’s not just my president, he’s my commander-in-chief. John Kennedy was a loved president. People absolutely adored him. It was a real shame.”

Tom Long saw Kennedy in person two weeks before the assassination.

“I was working at a missile site,” Long said.

“President Kennedy made a dedication at a reservoir about 20 miles from where I worked. His helicopter flew over and came down and he waved at us. Two weeks later he was dead. We were shocked. It was a terrible thing.”

Mary Workman said the entire country suffered a loss that day in November.

“I was home when I heard he was shot,” Workman said. “I walked down to the post office and found out he was dead. We lost a good president. I felt very sad to lose a person like that. I thought he was a great president. He was awfully young too.”

Violet Hall said she was in a state of disbelief when she heard the news.

“I was shocked, just shocked,” Hall said. “I felt so bad. He was such a nice man. To have that happen in our country was just a huge shock.”

Irene Miller remembered she was at work when she and her colleagues learned about the assassination. Miller said she and her co-workers were overcome with emotion upon hearing the news.

“I was working at the time,” Miller said.

“We didn’t have a radio on, so we didn’t hear about it right away. A girl came into the office and told us. Of course, we all teared up. Three ladies and one gentlemen in the office all teared up, and we said ‘no more business today.’ The doors were closed, and we all went home.”

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