I was in the first grade. The public address system came on at approximately two o'clock; we were told that school was dismissed since President Kennedy had been shot.
I walked home (can you imagine a six year old girl walking eight or so blocks to her home, all alone, from school? This was indeed a long time ago.) Some teenagers I met en route were crying. They told me that I should put my head down and cry too, so I did. I did not know what was going on.
As I reached the front steps of the house my mother yanked me in by the arm and slammed the door behind me as if the outside world was no longer a safe place for me. She was probably right.
The television stayed on for the next four days, and we stayed in front of it for most of that time. I don't remember sleeping or eating though I suppose we must have done both.
We did go out once. We had to get our best clothing on for Saturday for a special service at the synagogue where the rabbi led us in the prayer for the dead (Kaddish) for the soul of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. My spring coat was too small. I can still feel the scratchy crinoline and too-tight gloves. I scuffed my feet in the dead leaves as we walked home and back to the television.
YouTube has riveting, uncut footage of several hours of CBS News' coverage of the assassination. It starts with a soap opera, and several commercials actually air after the first announcement of shots is made. Then it switches entirely to the CBS newsroom alternating with shots of the Market Hall in Dallas, where a black waiter is seen crying and wiping his eyes with a table napkin. Few other people in that crowd appear to be affected as strongly. It is amazing to watch Walter Cronkite's reaction to the news as it develops--he is a consummate newsman, but there is a catch in his voice well before the official announcement comes (Dan Rather breaks the news of Kennedy's death ten minutes before official confirmation arrives). Cronkite repeatedly takes his glasses off and puts them on again and there are beads of sweat on his forehead.
We are a good deal more cynical and distrustful of politicians now than we were then, but the Kennedy assassination was mourned in heartfelt fashion by men and women of all races and creeds, all over the world. The miracle of the Internet brings the horror of that day back in black and white--and also in uncensored film of the horrific assassination. It is riveting and sickening stuff.