A somber anniversary

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Nov 20, 2013 - 01:40 PM

Photo: Stella and Tom Bartron of Gloucester have vivid memories of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. Photo by Bill Nachman

Stella and Tom Bartron of Gloucester have vivid memories of the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. Photo by Bill Nachman

Photo: Allen Moughon, his wife Elma, and their son Chris, from left,   all were at Mathews schools—the parents teaching classes at the high school and their son in the second grade—when they first learned about President Kennedy being shot. Photo by Bill Nachman

Allen Moughon, his wife Elma, and their son Chris, from left, all were at Mathews schools—the parents teaching classes at the high school and their son in the second grade—when they first learned about President Kennedy being shot. Photo by Bill Nachman

What began as a normal day 50 years ago, with things to do like school and shopping, soon turned into a day that few who experienced it will ever forget.

Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and some local residents recounted their thoughts of that fateful day.

For the Rev. Fred Carter, pastor of Shepherdsville Baptist Church in Gloucester, what sticks in his memory the most of that Friday is the music. He said a Mahler composition played constantly on television for days as the nation mourned the death of President Kennedy.

Carter, then a student at Temple University in Philadelphia, remembers that "nobody went to class … it was like a Jewish holiday."

Georgette Hurley, longtime assistant administrator for Gloucester County, said she was a freshman at Radford College (now University) and was walking across campus that afternoon when she noticed the chimes ringing constantly. The chimes usually only rang on the quarter hour, Hurley said, but she and her friends didn’t learn about why the chimes were not letting up until they reached their dormitory.

There, they watched history unfold on television for the next few days as the disturbing news came in from Dallas, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president, and Kennedy was finally laid to rest. "We were all glued to the television set," Hurley said.