My parents were married on November 22, 1956.
On their seventh anniversary, my father left work early to celebrate the day with my mother. On his way home, he stopped at a florist and purchased a dozen roses. After leaving the florist, he switched on the radio of his 1963 Ford Galaxie and shortly thereafter heard a news flash from Dallas announcing that President Kennedy had been shot and seriously wounded. He hit the gas pedal and raced home. Though my parents were Republicans, my mother nevertheless met my father with a tearful embrace as Walter Cronkite announced that the President had died. My parents and my sisters sat in front of the television for much of that weekend – never leaving the house. The flowers my father bought had been left in the passenger seat – where they withered and died over the course of the weekend.
A thousand miles away, a dozen blood drenched roses lay on the floor of a Lincoln Continental – forgotten in the chaos of the moment.
In later years, my parents would observe their anniversary one day early, as November 22 would forever more be remembered as a day of mourning.