On Nov. 22, 1963, I was 9 years old and attended Holy Trinity Catholic School. That morning when I arrived at school, Sister Johanna, my fourth grade teacher, told the class that we would be going to see the president. She explained how he was the first Catholic president and the youngest president of the United States.
Our class, along with the older classes from the school, walked down Oak Lawn Avenue to the intersection where the president would be passing. We played and waited under the trees that formed the landscape. Soon, we saw a black, classic limousine come toward us. I will never forget Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, in her beautiful suit and pill box hat. Her smile grew more radiant as she recognized the Sisters of Charity in their habits and the students in their uniforms. Then, she touched President John F. Kennedy’s sleeve and called his attention to us. He turned, smiled at us widely and waved. They continued down the street.
When we arrived back at the school, we went to recess. While there, students started saying that the president had been shot. I thought it was a rumor. Soon after that, the bell rang. The class climbed the stairs to our classroom on the second floor. When we arrived in the hall, I saw the sisters crying and I knew that it was true –the president had been shot.
Our principal, Sister Rita, spoke over the intercom, made the announcement, and told us that Father Huber, our pastor, was on his way to the hospital to give the president the last rites. She then led us in the recitation of the Holy Rosary. Our beloved president, who was raised Catholic, knew about being an immigrant from his family, and fought for the poor, went to be with the Lord.