If you are under 50 (or probably 55) you won’t remember Friday, November 22, 1963, but I’m sure by now you’ve heard many stories about the Kennedy Assassination.
I was 10 and remember it very well. I was in the 5th grade at the Prospect School in Beverly, Massachusetts and Miss Maskell, my teacher, was called out of the classroom. She was gone quite a while. When she came back to class she stood in front of us, put her hands on her desk and said something close to, “I’m sorry to tell you that President Kennedy has been shot in Dallas, Texas. We have decided to let school out early. You should go right home and check-in with your parents.” By the time I walked home my mom knew President Kennedy had died. I think Miss Maskell knew this and the school was smart enough to know they should let our family tell us.
John Kennedy would be 96 years old now, but our memories of him remind us of a youthful and vigorous leader. He lived an amazing 46 years and had a full life. I thought the two-part American Experience piece on PBS was very good if you want to watch a life history piece on Kennedy. Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Kennedy was also very intriguing and includes more details about Oswald and Kennedy’s personal dalliances, if that interests you.
Lincoln – Kennedy Coincidences
Like many of us, Kennedy was in awe of Abraham Lincoln and was aware of some of the coincidences between himself and Lincoln. The first time I read about the coincidences was in a book called The Incredible Dr. Matrix by Martin Gardner published in the late 1970s. Gardner was a mathematician and wrote interesting books that taught readers about numbers and sometimes numerology. Here are eleven to match the month:
- Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946, 100 years apart.
- Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. Also, 100 years apart.
- The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
- Lincoln was killed in Ford’s Theater and Kennedy was killed in a Lincoln made by Ford Motor Company.
- Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.
- Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
- Both were shot in the back of the head.
- Lincoln’s private secretary’s first name was John and Kennedy’s private secretary’s last name was Lincoln.
- Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
- Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908. Exactly 100 years apart.
- Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.
While these coincidences are interesting and fun to talk about at parties, they are just coincidences. If we studied other relationships, I’m sure we would find other interesting coincidences. But this week we’re remembering President Kennedy, whose life and death will fascinate Americans for many years in the future.