Carl Ruth, Sr. (Nov. 22, 2013) It was a traumatic moment for a nation enthralled with a presidential leader that loved his country, and a country that loved him. One that bravely and heroically served his nation during World War II, as our young men and women have done since its birth. Why does it seem that many of our heroes pass on before their work is done? God’s plan for His children is mysterious at best. These were just a few of my thoughts on that fateful day, 22 November 1963, 1:30 PM, EST.
I was stationed at MacDill, AFB in Florida at that moment, working in a maintenance shop on an F4 Phantom radar system. The tragic news brought all activity to a solemn stillness. There was no more maintenance or work performed that afternoon as we glued ourselves to the shop radio following every word of the announcer, having a tough time believing what we were hearing was really true. Those four days between the assassination and his funeral brought the country and world to a halt as we mourned. The events of his funeral played out and we eventually found ourselves going back to a normal routine, keeping our Fighter Wing running smoothly and preparing young maintenance crews and pilots for the devastating Vietnam conflict to come.
Our Country has lost several presidents over the ages through assassination but John F. Kennedy is one that is embedded in my memory, as no other will ever be. God called JFK to Himself for a reason, and we as a nation had to truck on, sacrificing young men and women to ensure that our normal way of life continued to provide us the freedom and prosperity in honor of the president who encouraged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
God Bless us all and May we all enjoy a loving Thanksgiving and blessed Christmas!
Carl Ruth, Sr.
USAF Retired (1957-1978)
(Photo by the Dallas Morning News)