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Behind the scenes of JFK remembrance stories

8:50 PM, Nov 26, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The most I've learned about the John F. Kennedy assassination was in my middle school history books and then again when the band Postal Service came out with the song, "Sleeping In."

It was a monumental moment in American history, heck , it was a huge moment in world history and I know this because I spoke to a man from Iceland who recalled his memory of finding out JFK had been killed.

The past few days I've helped work on JFK related stories.

Thursday, I worked on a story at the JFK remembrance exhibit at the Newseum. Reporter Surae Chinn interviewed several people at the exhibit who recalled their memories of finding out the president had been killed.

When I first got to the exhibit to work on the story, I stumbled upon a group of elders who were watching the 50-year-old video of the coverage of JFK's assassination. Some of the women were crying and had their hands over their mouths as if they were seeing it for the first time all over again.

Everyone had a story. Everyone who lived during JFK's presidency has a memory of how they found out about the assassination and how they felt during the time. One man told us he was a federal worker in DC and loved Kennedy because he was truly the "boss," of the workers. He made people who worked for the government feel honored and cared for.

One man was in 3rd grade when he learned about the assassination at school. "It was the first time I had heard a nun cry," he said. He continued to talk about how JFK was loved by African Americans because of his efforts for civil rights. While he was explaining this, he was standing near a large photograph taken of two African American women sobbing at the surprising news of JFK's assignation.

One thing that caught my eye at the exhibit was two boards that read "What Was Your 'Where Were You Moment?'" When I went up to the board and read some of the notes people left, I realized some of the people we talked to had gone to the board and posted sticky notes of their recollection of finding out about the assassination. The board was also covered in sticky notes of people's recollection of 9/11.

On Friday, reporter Mola Lenghi and I visited Mr. John Herbers, 90, and his wife Betty, 89. John Herbers wrote for the New York Times and spent a month in Dallas covering the JFK assassination aftermath. He recalled vivid memories of what Dallas was like during the time, calling the city "self-conscious" because everyone was "picking on them." He repeatedly insisted the main thought in his head during that month was getting home to his wife and kids. It was fascinating hearing the perspective of a journalist covering the chaos of a president's assassination.

I learned so much spending my internship's last week covering the 50-year remembrance of JFK's assassination. And I could not help but get excited at the thought of what historical stories I will be covering in the future. I think becoming a journalist means taking on the duty of telling truth and telling powerful stories. I think this takes a toll on a person's happiness and perspective of the world, but I think it is one of the most important jobs in the world.


Until Next Time.

Noor Tagouri
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