The passing today of Sen. Edward Kennedy brings to end a period of my life in America. The Camelot dynasty has finally concluded. With his death and the recent death of his sister Eunice, it seems like all the links to the past have finally fallen away and we are on our own. I'm sure I won't remember finding out this morning on my 5am work break. But I remember where I was when I heard some of the other news ...
Mr. G's eighth grade science class, rightmost row, next to the back chair-desk, about 10 feet from the classroom door, late morning in Oregon: November 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.
High school senior, working after school at my dad's woodworking shop, stopping at the ice cream shop on the way home for dinner, listening to the radio as Dad went into the shop: April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
High school graduation, early evening, checking our gowns and hats and shoes, milling about in the hallways while our parents and siblings worked their way into the auditorium, then sitting through the ceremony to get to the much more fun overnight lock-in of movies and such (The Guns of Navaronne was on the big screeen.): June 4-5, 1968. Robert Kennedy assassinated in Los Angeles, California. Somehow we found out about the initial shooting but then had no information until we got home the next day. He died about 26 hours after the shooting.
I've heard of many deaths since then but I don't remember any of the details surrounding getting the news. I suppose every generation has their own version of this. The recent death of Michael Jackson will probably be remembered by some the same way I remember the deaths of JFK, MLK, and RFK.