Friday marks the 50th anniversary of an event that rocked the nation, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. .
NBCRightNow.com - Friday marks the 50th anniversary of an event that rocked the nation. An entire generation of Americans remember exactly where they were and when they heard the news that President John F. Kennedy was dead.
The people NBC Right Now spoke with were just kids when JFK was assassinated, but they have vivid memories of sitting in class when the shocking announcement was made.They were shaken and confused and knew our country was forever changed that day.
"They actually announced it over the intercom system throughout the school that the president had just been shot, " Kennewick Police Department Chief Ken Hohenberg remembers.
"We didn't know at the time what was happening. We were just sent home. Teachers were crying, " Kennewick City Mayor Steve Young tells NBC Right Now.
Our own Tim Adams even recalls that day, "A girl from the office came and whispered to our teacher and she was shocked. She just turned to the class and told us all that the president had been assassinated."
November 22nd 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot by a gunman as his motorcade made his way through the streets of Dallas. His death left the nation stunned. And no matter your age, the assassination made an impact and changed America's outlook.
"Well that was one of the first lessons that you learn about bad things can happen to really great people and that has always stayed with me during my law enforcement career as well," Hohenberg recalls.
"My dad brought us down to the rotunda, the Capitol, we saw his coffin in state the next day. That was a very vivid memory for me. I don't think there's anything more traumatic that I have witnessed during my life," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke.
"Growing up, sobering experience, they're serious, there are serious people out there that want to harm us and our country. We have to toughen up now because things are going to be much more difficult," Adams recalls.
"There was a shock that you just didn't think that something like that would happen and so when it does it kind of throws you, puts you a little off kilter," Tri-City Development Council Carl Adrian explained to us.
"You know your life is changing and your security has changed. It's very frightening."
The assassination came just 62 days after Kennedy's visit to Hanford for the ground-breaking of the steam plant. 30,000 people watched him speak that day as he acknowledged Hanford's contribution to our nation's history.
"Kennedy was very supportive of what was going on in the Tri-Cities and he made that very clear during his speech during that time. I've read it since then and it was a real sense of loss to Tri-Citians."
In that Hanford speech, Kennedy said "I look forward to coming back here sometime and seeing this plant at work." Sadly, that day never came.
In the Hanford newspaper from 50 years ago, remembering President Kennedy and his Hanford speech, holds an important place in the site's history. The newspaper says "all Hanford men and women join with the people of the nation in mourning the tragic death of John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States."
If you remember the day JFK was killed, we want to hear your story as well. Just click here, and submit your memories of the day President Kennedy was assassinated.