In Memoriam: John F. Kennedy. Funeral March from Beethoven’s Third Symphony.

This is quite moving.  Friday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK.  Yesterday, Sunday, November 24, 2013, I rode my bicycle from my in Washington, DC across Memorial Bridge to Arlington Cemetery to visit his grave.  It was a bitterly cold day with a strong wind blowing.  Yet, there was a constant stream of visitors.

Later in the day, I was driving with my wife and we were listening to a piece on an American Public Radio show called “On the Media.”  The reporter was talking about how television was a new medium at the time and this was the first time it brought the whole world into a live new event as it was unfolding.  They made mention of the fact that Erich Leinsdorf was conducting a performance of the Boston Symphony orchestra for a live radio broadcast and learned of the assassination just 10 minutes before his scheduled concert.  He had librarian get copies of Beethoven’s Funeral March from his Third Symphony and give give it to all the musicians.  He broke the news of the assassination to the audience and then said in memoriam they would play the Beethoven.  It’s captured here on this recording.  You can hear the gasps of the audience.

50 years ago, I was 8 sitting in my home room at Elsie Rogers school waiting for the “walkers to be released,” (I lived across the street). There was a delay. The teachers were called out. When they came back, they were ashen. We learned the president had been shot. We went home and my parents were there glued to the television. The weekend was full of anger, grief, denial, saddness and pain. It was the first time I saw my parents cry. One night I came down from my bedroom and found my mother sitting in front of the television which was just broadcasting a live video of the back of the White House. She was praying the rosary and crying. No matter what his pecadillos, JFK challenged a nation to be great, to rise above cynicism and believed that government could help provide the tools to help us reach that greatness.

This weekend on the news I heard so many people — reporters, policemen, military, and just plain old folks — who when recounting the events of those days, choked up and even broke into tears.  It still saddens me to this day.  Monday, Novermber 25 was the day of his funeral, and this piece is fitting.  Here are a few pictures I took there on Sunday.


IMG_0327 IMG_0316Where were you when JFK was shot?


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

3 Responses to In Memoriam: John F. Kennedy. Funeral March from Beethoven’s Third Symphony.

  1. Pingback: I Never Knew | A Simple, Village Undertaker

  2. I was a teenage schoolgirl in an English boarding school. A group of us arrived back late from a concert to find the whole school in an uproar and my dormitory was full of frightened girls, some weeping. The shock waves certainly crossed the Atlantic.


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