DALLAS, Tex. -- I was six years old, and a first-grader in elementary school in Ft. Meade, Maryland - less than 30 minutes from the White House. I remember it just as if it were yesterday, our school secretary coming into the classroom in tears.
"They shot the President!" she said.
A few hours later I was home, and my mom was still having no luck getting in touch with her mother, who lived right outside Dallas, Texas. My mom was a born and bred Texan, through and through, and the fact that John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, on Texas soil, hit home in a very distressful way.
Texans are proud people, and Dallasites feel they stand on top of the Texas food chain. But not on this day. November 22nd will always be a bad stain on any American calendar, especially in Dallas. I can't remember when I first developed a connection to the assassination, maybe it was that day in first grade.
But over the years, it's something that's stayed with me. Now it's connected to me. I feel more connected to November 22nd than I do July 4th or Memorial Day, and lord knows I appreciate all that those two national holidays represent.
Today I felt much like Richard Dreyfuss did in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Somehow, someway I just had to be in Dallas today as the city held its first public remembrance of JFK, and dedicated a new monument in Dealey Plaza.
I'm glad I was here, 50 years to the day after I first heard the news that John F. Kennedy was gone. Today, for a brief moment, it almost felt like he was back.