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Photo of the Week, 42: Local Memorial Services for Slain President

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on the afternoon of November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

Three days after the assassination, Monday, November 25, Illinois State Normal University held a special convocation in memory of the slain president. There were about 6,000 students, faculty, university staff and area residents at the ceremony in the newly erected Horton Field House.

“I'm sure that where you were and what you were doing [at the time the news of the president's death came] will be imprinted on your mind forever," said a prescient ISNU President Robert G. Bone. The Vidette, the student newspaper, published a Sunday issue (the only one in its history) with the headline “Campus Mourns Kennedy's Death."

More than 1,000 attended a similar memorial service at Illinois Wesleyan University, also on November 25. The program was held at what is today the Hansen Student Center. “We all reacted in disbelief that the life of one so powerful could vanish in a matter of seconds," said IWU Chaplain William L. White. “This raises the questions of 'What is life?' and 'What is death?'"

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History