Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

November 22, 2013

50 YEARS LATER

JFK memories still fresh & chilling

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

Mourners formed a long line. There was a white picket fence around the site and many flowers. 

“It was quite sad,” Covell said. The newlyweds took a photograph which they still have today.

•••

Ann Whalen Bates watched from the Big Bridge when then-Senator Kennedy and Jackie passed by during his 1960 campaign. She was a student at DeSales High School.

“We were out of school that day,” Bates recalled. “All the kids were rubber necking to get a look at him.” 

Anne’s uncle, Weldon “Moose” Whalen was alongside the convertible, protecting the president. Whalen, a well-known Lockport police officer, became a captain in 1965. 

The photographer offered the Whalens a copy of the photograph and the family treasures it. A copy also hangs at Danny Sheehan’s Steakhouse. 

Anne was living with her family on Hawley Street, ready to start a new job at Social Services, when she heard the bulletin that Kennedy was shot. And, a few minutes later that the president died. She can’t forget it.

Bates is the co-owner of the Bates Funeral Home in Middleport.

•••

Clarissa Myers Eldredge Merritt wrote: 

It’s very hard to explain the impact the assassination of President Kennedy had on me; to this day I cannot watch footage of the motorcade or the days that followed without tears.

Really? 50 years ago? I was 16 years old, in class at Lockport High School, when the announcement came over the public address system that the president had been shot. Classes were canceled, the buses were there to take us home, a ride in total silence. So strange. Surreal. Heartbreaking.

I spent the next few days glued to the black and white television trying to process what was happening. Then I went to work as an aid at the Odd Fellows and Rebekah Nursing Home the following Sunday morning. I was with a patient who had her TV on and I actually saw Jack Ruby shoot and kill Lee Harvey Oswald. Impossible to believe.

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