Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 22, 2013

Greencroft residents recall the day Kennedy shot

GOSHEN — Fifty years is a long time to remember anything, but one event, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was so startling, that even today many people can recall just when and how they heard the terrible news.

“I remember very plain,” said Norm Swihart Monday as he sat waiting for the noontime meal provided by Real Meals at Greencroft’s Manor IV. “I was a custodian/bus driver at Jefferson School, which at this time was grades one to 12. The principal, Harry Smith, called a meeting in the gymnasium and we got all 12 grades of us in there and he made an announcement that Kennedy had been shot. And of course he later died. It was a real sober day.”

That shocking news has been a collective memory for several generations of Americans who were old enough to understand the day’s events at the time.

Swihart, who is 87, was 37 on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald raised an Italian military-surplus rifle and fired three shots at the Kennedy limousine.

“That was probably one of the biggest shocks in my life,” he said.

The assassination not only took Kennedy’s life, but also erased his presidential agenda, some of which was later taken up by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Asked if his generation missed out on Kennedy’s campaign promises, Swihart was quick to respond.

“Oh sure we did,” he said. “We lost a lot. I think he was doing a good job.”

Just through a doorway from where Swihart sat in a waiting room, a group of women circled their chairs around a large table to sip coffee and chat up the day’s events, something they do often.

“I was at work,” said Jane Nagle of where she was at when she heard the news of the assassination five decades ago. “One of the mechanics or something came by and told us Kennedy was shot.”

Text Only
Local News

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.

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp