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Tom Ashbrook Remembers JFK

All my life I’ve heard people say that JFK’s assassination was the first time they saw some particular person cry.  Some adult they saw
first getting the news.  In memory, it can seem like the whole country was weeping.

It was not the first time I had seen my mother cry.  My mother would cry, joyfully, at the beauty of birch trees in winter.  I had seen her
weep when my little brother died as an infant. He had not been born well. The preacher came and put his arms around my parents in the driveway.  They cried and bowed their heads and prayed for Timmy.  It was hard, but they seemed to know what to do.

This day was different.  The news came.  School was let out right away. I walked home, eight years old.  My mother was surprised to see
me at the door.  I shared the news. She knelt on the doorstep and hugged me and cried.  And what I remember of her shock and sorrow is that she did not seem to know what to do with it this time.  It was sorrow and bewilderment.

That’s what I remember.

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TODAY
Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

Loretta Lynch gets a vote. Race and anger in Baltimore. Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Petraeus, sentenced. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

Loretta Lynch gets a vote. Race and anger in Baltimore. Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Petraeus, sentenced. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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