Memories of JFK: 'It seems like yesterday'
President and Mrs. Kennedy, along with Texas Gov. John Connally, prepare to leave Love Field in Dallas in the motorcade that ended in tragedy less than 40 minutes later on Nov. 22, 1963. (UPI FILE)
Tom Rath was walking across the Dartmouth College Green.
John Broderick was in high school in Massachusetts, not far from where John F. Kennedy had served as a congressman. John H. Sununu was delivering a technical presentation, and Carol Shea was in elementary school.
Sanders, whose mentor was long-time Kennedy adviser William "Bill" Dunfey, was practicing law with Richard Dunfey in 1963.
"We all spent several days in front of the television, grieving," Sanders said.
Sanders said JFK "was the first candidate to fully employ the primary system in New Hampshire and across the country. Folks running for President, the successful ones at least, still follow the JFK playbook of 1960."
Broderick, dean of the UNH School of Law and former chief justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, is a friend of former President Bill Clinton.
Broderick once talked with President Clinton in that Rose Garden and told him that Broderick, too, had met Kennedy and shaken his hand in the same garden.
His mother told Broderick not to expect to see Kennedy that day in 1961 because it was the middle of the Bay of Pigs disaster in which U.S.-backed Cuban rebels were captured by Fidel Castro.
"It was probably the worst day of his presidency, but you would have thought that we were the most important event of his whole day," Broderick said.
"I think for a lot of people my age, he was the first political figure they remember well," he said. "I was totally inspired by his life, more so than by his death."
"It was a tremendous loss for our country and the world. But President Kennedy changed the country for the better and the generation he inspired continues to carry out his ideals," she said.
State Sen. D'Allesandro was 25 and teaching history at then-Bishop Bradley High School, when "Brother Brendan's voice came over the loud speaker... The world stood still."
D'Allesandro had met Kennedy at UNH and keeps a photo of that day in his State House office.
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster was in second grade, "but I remember the funeral as if it was yesterday.
Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas was at Smyth Road School in Manchester when he and classmates were called inside from a gym class, "and we watched it on television, and it was a very, very trying day, even at 13 years of age."
Gatsas admired Kennedy not only as President but as the skipper of PT 109 in World War II.
Tom Rath, a former state Attorney General and longtime Republican activist prominent lawyer, was at Dartmouth when someone told him, "the President has been shot."
"The campus shut down. It was stunning, absolutely stunning," Rath said.
John H. Sununu, then 22, was nearly 20 years away from becoming governor and more than 25 years away from becoming White House chief of staff.
"I was making a presentation on a redesign we had done on a noxygen circulating fan and a pump for the astronauts' backpacks," he said. "The announcement came over the speaker," he said.
U.S. Rep Carol Shea-Porter was sent home early from elementary school. "The nuns told us to ask our parents why. I was walking by a candy store on the way home and walked inside. Everyone was quiet or crying, and I asked what happened to the grown-ups. That's how I found out President Kennedy had been killed.
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