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America was now in a deep, collective mourning.

John Donofrio

Adjunct Faculty, Mathematics

From my journal: Late in November 1963, JFK was assassinated and everyone’s world stopped for several days. People remembered where they were when they heard the news. I was in my barracks room when it was announced over the PA system. America was now in a deep, collective mourning. JFK died on a Friday and by Sunday morning my entire company was marching in his funeral procession alongside his flag-draped coffin. Of the 6 companies at the Coast Guard Academy, my company was the only one selected to go because we were considered the best in marching and maneuvering. One hundred of us marched in silence in front of an estimated million people who quietly lined the streets to mourn and view the formal procession. We marched from the U.S. Capitol to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, then to JFK’s final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. Many times, all I could hear was our footsteps marching in unison. Occasionally a dirge played in the background. 250,000 people waited up to ten hours in lines that stretched 40 blocks to pay their respects at the cemetery. It was a solemn and fitting tribute.