November 22, 1963. Like December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001, the date is frozen in history’s freeze frame. John Fitzgerald Kennedy – young, intellectual, charismatic, inspiring – a president with whom millions of Americans had become enamored, was assassinated. The entire nation was engulfed in shock and grief.
Anyone old enough to remember that fateful Friday will never forget where they were the moment the dreaded news arrived, the famous and those destined for notoriety being no exception.
Imagine, for a moment, the fact that no historian or journalist in the 1940s sought to document where eminent contemporaries were, and how each reacted, to the awful news of the attack at Pearl Harbor. Where were Albert Einstein and Jackie Robinson . . . Helen Keller and Clark Gable . . . Babe Ruth and Eleanor Roosevelt? Any attempt to garner their joint recollections of that catastrophe is gone forever.
Now fast forward one generation as presidential historian and author John Burke Jovich was entrusted by over 300 well-known Americans to create enduring, first-hand accounts of the emotions each experienced on that horrifying day President Kennedy was shot, when our country seemed to have lost its innocence. Said luminaries include U. S. presidents and Supreme Court justices, entertainers and astronauts, sports legends and journalists. From Jonas Salk and Alex Haley to Julia Child and Cesar Chavez; Elizabeth Taylor and Regis Philbin to John Travolta and Yogi Berra, Jovich has preserved their personal revelations of JFK’s death for perpetuity.
“The Tears of November” is a gripping program, one in which Jovich masterfully articulates how many of America’s noteworthy citizens reacted to the most traumatizing historical event of the latter half of the twentieth century.
John introducing retired police detective James Leavelle to President Gerald R. Ford in Dallas. Leavelle had handcuffed himself to Lee Harvey Oswald moments before the accused assassin was shot by Jack Ruby. Ford was the last-surviving member of the Warren Commission at the time of their meeting.
Left, Jovich with Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Right, he is seated at the Senator's desk, the same desk used by John F. Kennedy during his two terms in the U. S. Senate. The U. S. and presidential flags either side of the desk once stood in JFK's White House Oval Office.