The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

November 21, 2013

JFK anniversary evokes memories for local residents

EDMOND — During the morning of Nov. 22, 1963, half a century ago, Rita Aragon was in Dale, a seventh-grader in her home economics class. It surely was a typical school setting on a Friday with teachers in their classrooms interacting with their students.

At 11:40 a.m., President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, and their party arrived at Love Field in Dallas.

They were on day two of a trip planned five months earlier that included dedicating new research facilities at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, a testimonial dinner in Houston for U.S. Rep. Albert Thomas and the president speaking during a large breakfast Friday morning.

The day’s events were to include a motorcade through downtown Dallas, a luncheon speech at the Trade Mart and a flight to Austin where Kennedy was scheduled to attend a reception and speak at a Democratic fundraising dinner.

It was hoped the Dallas motorcade, the Warren Commission would later report, would evoke a demonstration of the president’s personal popularity in a city he lost in the 1960 election.

By mid-morning, the threat of rain gave way to clearing skies as the president greeted crowds from his open limousine. With him were the first lady, the Texas governor and several Secret Service agents.

As the limousine passed the Texas School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza, gunshots resounded in rapid succession. One bullet entered the base of the back of Kennedy’s neck; a second struck him in the rear portion of his head, causing a massive, fatal wound.

The president was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, located four miles away — At 1 p.m., President Kennedy was pronounced dead. Print and TV reporters began to spread the horrible news.

LOCALS REMEMBER

In Aragon’s school, the superintendent made an announcement over the intercom.

“Everyone broke down and cried,” said Aragon, now Oklahoma’s Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs and an Edmond resident.

There were no televisions in the classroom, but there was one in the library at Dale High School. Aragon recalls the emotionally devastated teachers and how everyone seemed lost.

“We were all waiting to hear what was going to happen,” she said. “It was the first time history ‘hit’ us in the face. National television seemed so instant and we couldn’t believe anyone could kill the president.”

Aragon said her grandmother was a devoted Kennedy aficionado. She had a plate hanging in her dining room with the president and first lady on it.

“I thought they must be very special because grandma was very religious and the only pictures she had up were family and Jesus,” Aragon said. “It was like our whole little community was for my first time united around an horrific event that made the world seem much smaller than I had ever imagined.”

Edmond Police Chief Bob Ricks was a sophomore in college on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas.

“I was in the hallway when somebody came running up and said, ‘The president’s been shot,’” Ricks said.

He recalled everyone being in a state of shock and how a great deal of campus activity was canceled including football games. Students watched the news as they tried to make sense of what was happening, why it was happening and who was responsible, Ricks said.

Ricks recalled learning about the arrest of the prime suspect — Lee Harvey Oswald — and the startling news. On Sunday morning, Nov. 24, he was watching, wanting to see Oswald as he was being transferred from the city jail to the Dallas County jail about a mile away. During the transfer, a man named Jack Ruby shot Oswald who died that day.

“We wanted to see this guy and then he gets shot by Jack Ruby,” Ricks said as he sat in his office.

Leaman Harris, 75, a resident at Edmond’s Touchmark at Coffee Creek, was going through officer training school at James Connally Air Force Base, located north of Waco. Harris said he had finished lunch at the mess hall and was on his way back to his barracks when he saw people gathering in groups.

“You could tell something had happened,” he said.

In his barracks, fellow service members were watching TV.

“We were all kind of saying, ‘This kind of thing is unbelievable,’” Harris said.

Louis Frazier, 92, a resident at Edmond’s Touchmark at Coffee Creek, was an administrative assistant at a Veterans Administration hospital in Huntington, W. Va. Frazier said he was coming back to the office at about noon when his secretary told him about what had happened.

Frazier recalled some of the same feelings as the others and wondering how the change in the Oval Office might impact his agency.

They also recalled the events of the president’s funeral including when little John John saluted as the flag-draped coffin being carried on a horse-drawn caisson passed by.

marks@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 108

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • jc_Earp Marlin 2 - photo credit Noel Winters.jpg Shootout of a sale

    An original article of the Wild West will be made available at auction Thursday. The rifle of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp will be part of the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal’s Summer Quarterly Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.
    Earp was an Arizona deputy sheriff and deputy town marshal in Tombstone, Ariz. He is legendary for playing a key role in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He died in 1929 at age 60.
    Wyatt Earp collector Barry Tapp of Edmond will be selling his 1895 Wyatt Earp Marlin rifle at the auction. The rifle has an estimated value between $50,000 and $75,000. It includes authentication documentation from Tombstone Heritage Museum, according to the auction house

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • sales tax holiday.jpg Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday

    Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
    Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Experts: Ukraine airliner disaster has implications for U.S. security

    Use of surface-to-air missiles by extra-military personnel to shoot down civilian aircraft may be an emerging threat to the United States, a terrorism expert said.
    On Thursday, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine, President Barack Obama said during a statement on the conflict in front of reporters at the White House.

    July 18, 2014

  • Rabbi, UCO professor provide Middle East perspectives

    Hours after Israel launched ground operations in the Gaza Strip, the leader of a metro synagogue and a UCO professor who was raised in the West Bank shared their thoughts about the escalating conflict.  
    During the latest cycle of violence sparked by the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers that Israel blames on Hamas, the Jewish nation launched air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

    July 18, 2014