Where I was when JFK was shot

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Media captionA British nurse was in the Dallas hospital when JFK was shot

John F Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. BBC News website readers from across the world recall the moment they heard the news.


Beverly Nagy

Image caption Beverly Nagy and husband after Kennedy's death

I remember standing in front of my dressing table in my bedroom in Plattsburgh, New York, getting things organised for my wedding the next day.

My fiance, Ron, who was in the air force, was stuck on base because of a red alert - but still made it to the wedding rehearsal at the church that evening.

The priest arrived late, though, because he was so upset.

We all wanted to celebrate the wedding, but at the same time we all felt very, very sad.

I remember my father walking me down the aisle, and then my husband taking my hand.

His hand was as cold as mine.

John Hughes

There was no announcement at my school in Union City, New Jersey.

The walk home took 30 minutes. The streets were deserted. I dropped in at a corner grocery store, and I found the proprietor, Wan Chang, his staff and several patrons weeping.

"Where have you been?" they said. "Haven't you heard?"

Later my father returned home from work.

A naturalised US citizen from Northern Ireland, he had survived the Irish wars, two world wars, a Scottish coal mine disaster and the Pasadena earthquake.

He said: "Son, it is a terrible day. But this is just history as usual. We have a new president now, don't we? Pay attention to him."

Peter Crane

Image caption Mrs Kennedy, Robert and Teddy "cast long shadows" at the funeral

I was at my mother's office in downtown Washington when we got the word that the president had been shot. I went to the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and K Street, and it was still.

I remember hearing a woman cry out from a window: "He's dead!"

The funeral was Monday. My mother's office had a 10th-floor balcony overlooking Connecticut Avenue, and I took pictures of the procession.

Mrs Kennedy, with Robert on her right and Teddy on her left - the morning sun was behind them, and the three of them cast long shadows.


Sharan Tabari

Image caption Tabari: Communists also mourned his death

I was at school in Tehran when the news broke.

It was a mixed atmosphere - some people were crying and some were hoping that school would close.

The Kennedys - especially Jacqueline - were very popular among young, middle-class Iranians.

But my family were communists, and Americans were not in our good books.

I wasn't sure how I should react until I went home and heard my mother say he was a good man - he was anti-racist. I felt hot tears rolling down my face.


Bill Dalzell

I was on board the SS Darby, a troopship carrying GIs to Germany.

Image caption Bill Dalzell heard the news while he was at sea

So here we were in the middle of the ocean, and our president has been assassinated. We heard that brigades had been placed on full alert - and wondered if the rest of the troops in Germany would be mobilised by the time we reached Bremerhaven.

We wondered how that would affect our arrival - or if there would be a war.

I remembered something that a high school history teacher had once said, partly in jest, that perhaps the safest place to be when the hammer dropped would be in the middle of the ocean. One could watch the missiles from both sides go overhead.

A few days later we arrived in Bremerhaven. There weren't any bombs falling - and slowly things began to settle down.

Renos Lavithis

I was walking back home from my dad's shop in Paphos, Cyprus, and I was tired in the near midday sun. There was a house rented by young Americans who were doing voluntary work, helping our newly established country.

Image caption Renos Lavithis recalls seeing a young American cry

As I turned round the corner, I saw one of them sitting on the wall and crying like a baby. I did not know what to do and how to take it - to see such a young man full of confidence crying.

With a broken voice, he whispered: "They killed our president."

Even now the sight of the young American sitting on the wall makes me feel emotional.

Chrissie McBride

I had recently given birth to my son, Chris, at Bolton hospital (UK). There was no television in the ward. A trolley had been brought round during the morning, selling newspapers, most of them announcing President Kennedy's visit to Dallas.

The night staff arrived at about 19:00 and I remember overhearing a nurse crying in the office. She said: "Did you hear that President Kennedy has been shot, and he's dead?"

I could not absorb this as real. The night staff said nothing to us new mothers, possibly believing it would be too upsetting.


Sachiko Kotani

It was early morning (Japan time), and I was fixing breakfast.

My family was one of the first families in the village to buy a TV set.

It was the first day that live images were being broadcast by satellite between the US and Japan.

The moment I turned on the TV, the news came in. It was the middle of the Cold War, and I felt looming anxiety.

The fact that even the president of the US could be assassinated was intimidating.

Chris Jaggo

I was a 22-year-old officer aboard a merchant ship in the Pacific Ocean. It was 07:30 and I had just got dressed and gone down to the dining room to have my breakfast.

As I entered the chief engineer - a New Zealander - said: "Chris, your friend has been assassinated." To which I replied, "Which friend?". He said: "President Kennedy."

I cried my eyes out. He was my hope and inspiration, and all that seemed to have died with him.


Peter Woodsford

I was doing Voluntary Service Overseas, teaching in a boarding school for boys in Uganda.

Image caption Peter Woodsford - front row, second from right - said silence followed the news

I was the master on duty at breakfast. Before saying grace, the head prefect said: "Sir, have you heard that President Kennedy has been shot?"

I could not believe him but it was so. We had an announcement and a short silence.