Gulf coast residents remember JFK assassination

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The tragic events of November 22nd, 1963 will never be forgotten by anyone who was alive when President Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas.

"That moment is engraved in my memory," said Gulfport resident George Thatcher.

Thatcher and his friends meet every weekday morning at Triplett Day Drugstore for a cup of coffee and conversation.

On this 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, the gentleman reflected on what they were doing on that day.

Thatcher was eating lunch with a colonel from Keesler Air Force Base. A waiter handed the colonel a telephone.

"I remember his face turned ashen. He turned to me and said, 'Keesler is on high alert and I have to get back.' I said, 'What is going on?' He said, 'The president has been shot,' and he left right away," Thatcher said.

Harry Bell was on his way back to his office. "A stranger came up to me and said, 'The president was shot. What in the world are we going to do now?'" Bell recalled.

Jerry Halderman was on active duty in the Navy. He was stationed in London. Like all Americans, he was in shock.

"I thought, 'What a loss.' I was in mourning," said Halderman.

Tom Simmons believes the JFK assassination will forever haunt America.

"It was a tragic, horrible thing. The nation has not gotten over it," said Simmons.

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