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Billy Joe Fudge: The day JFK was shot

The events of the day the news came over the P.A. speaker at Sparksville Elementary School after lunch, November 22, 1963, are as vivid as yesterday, for the writer. It was also the day of the death of innocent. What started out as a day of patriotic unity ended with a transition: That day my innocent, blind faith in the intrinsic goodness of humanity died, he writes.
Comments re article 79111 A visit to old Breeding High School

By Billy Joe Fudge

My school moved from Breeding to Sparksville before November 22, 1963. I was in Mrs. Sally Akin's room when the announcement that JFK had been shot, came over the new P.A. I can never look at a wall-mounted P.A. speaker without a flashback to that day in infamy.

Forgive my digression but since November 22 is once again upon us, I must get this flashback off my chest. I remember the entire class sat in a collective, stunned silence while staring at that speaker as if waiting for some kind of retraction, correction or announcement to the contrary. Alas, neither of the three ever came.

We, all us kids, were of like mind. We, all without prejudice stood side by side, arm in arm in solidarity as American children, "one for all, all for one." With an unadulterated patriotism that afternoon we mourned together, sought understanding together and pledged to go forward together.

But then, someone else died later that day. The Billy Joe Fudge possessed with an innate faith that being American, being a neighbor, being a friend meant joining hands in times of tragedy and hurt and loss in spite of ones religion, education, ethnicity, differences, or political affiliation. Although I mean it not literally but figuratively I almost wished my Dad had not come home from an encounter at the country store that afternoon.

My Dad walked in the door, mad, stunned and hurt. One of his best friends on the other side of the "aisle" if you will, had just told Dad upon hearing the news of President Kennedy's assassination "it's about time someone killed that Catholic s-o-b".

That day my innocent, blind faith in the intrinsic goodness of humanity died. In that moment a different Billy Joe Fudge was born and I understood what my good friend Ed McKinney articulated years later when he said, "Bill, given the right set of circumstances, I can go down on the Square and find enough of our friends and neighbors to run a concentration camp." My friends, it should not be this way. We, all of us, republican or democrat, should embrace our differences, celebrate our similarities and above all in this "dog eat dog" political climate we find ourselves today, we should relearn the definition of "loyal opposition." - Billy Joe Fudge

This story was posted on 2015-11-22 08:17:14
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