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SusanDolphinDelaney

Healing and Empowerment for Women

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Fifty years ago I heard the anguished voice of our high school Vice Principal, Mr. Hughes, come over the loudspeaker and say that the President had been assassinated.

President Kennedy‘s body was returned to DC that same day. Two days later his coffin lay “in state” in the Capitol Rotunda.

My friend, Sooty and I decided to go and pay our respects.

We took several busses from our neighborhood in suburban Maryland to get there.

We were in a line that stretched six blocks along East Capitol Street. It was 40 degrees and drizzling, but we were determined. It was hours before we could view his coffin.

While we waited, Sooty told me that she felt like screaming. I encouraged her to scream, which she did.

Probably everyone else in line wanted to scream, too.

Finally, it was our turn. We mounted the marble steps leading to the East front of the Capitol. We could hear the flag, at half mast, whipping in the cold wind as we ascended.

The rotunda was hushed. The honor guard had members from every branch of the service. We paid our respects and felt grateful for our brief chance to get warm again.

We didn’t say a word on the journey back home.

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