The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 30, 2013

When to say nothing

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — To the editor:

It’s that time of year … and nearing the anniversary of a dreadful day in Dallas, Texas.

It was a nervously happy morning at the office. The newscaster had broadcast that the President and First Lady would pass down Main Street that morning. The office of my boss opened to the west side of the building with two doors onto a balcony from which one could look down on Main Street.

I kept the radio on, listening to the movement of the presidential entourage. One of the officers in the company came in (a devout Repub) and made the stupid crack, “Hope someone knocks off Kennedy today!’ Although I, too, had become a Repub, it was repulsive; I ran him out of the office. Suddenly the newscaster announced the location. I screamed down the hall to come quickly, quickly … the president was passing the Adolphus!!! We all five crowded onto that tiny little balcony, which could have collapsed. We wanted to see the president.

The limo was moving slowly, accompanied by six Secret Service  trotting alongside. Jackie heard us excitedly screaming at them, so she raised up and started waving back, all the while telling President Kennedy to look up. He turned, started to stand up; the limo lurched and he laughingly fell backward — but the whole thing was momentous to us.

It took only seconds. It was gone. We came inside. The others went back down the hall. Moments passed. I went to close the doors and heard something that sounded like a backfire down near the triple underpass! The radio announcer excitedly screamed that our president had been shot!

It was an instant rush back into my office to the radio, several began to cry. But the man who had made the silly crack at the president, with tears streaming down his cheeks, dropped to his knees and began to pray to God for our president’s survival. We all joined him in prayer, but as history tells, to no avail.

I did not vote for President Kennedy, but I admired and respected him — guess I liked him for himself. But we all learned a tough lesson that day.

Of course, it is not plausible that the man’s comment caused the death of our president minutes later, but we gave it thought that there are times just to keep your mouth shut. Even a tiny hurtful comment could cause a tear for someone who did not deserve it.

Billie R. Stone