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JFK Library Marks Dark Anniversary By Reflecting On How America Said Goodbye

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) —The museum that bears his name is marking this dark anniversary by reflecting on how America said goodbye to President Kennedy.

Iconic images, haunting, poignant that still evoke vivid emotions.

Share: Your Thoughts About JFK

Judith Wells of Lynn has just graduated from high school.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

“Everything was possible. I even tear up now,” Wells said, her voice cracking with emotion.

Symbolic items from Kennedy’s funeral are on display at the Kennedy Library.

“These artifacts do have a certain potency they have a certain power somehow to connect us to that moment in time,” library curator Stacey Bredhoff said.

The handwritten notes for a state funeral overseen by a grieving 34-year-old mother have a sense of history and artistry.

“There were thousands of decisions to be made and Mrs. Kennedy had certain ideas about what she wanted to see,” Bredhoff said.

The flag presented to her on behalf of a mournful nation is on display.

And for the first time ever, the saddle, sword and boots from the restless, riderless horse Black Jack, that followed the president’s funeral cortege.

“Americans,” Bredhoff says, “can feel proud of the way this nation mourned President Kennedy.”

It was a touch point for these two friends from Lynn, who are looking back to that day 50 years later.

“The memories are still there,” said Arlene Wallace. “The rider-less horse that we saw on the TV, and then seeing John-John come forward.”

Five decades later, the memories still bring back memories.

“Well, it was just an ending to the possibilities,” says Wells, “…going to college, we really thought we were going to lead the world, so it was sad, very sad.”

“I was only 18 and it was just a change – your whole world changed.”

The exhibit includes historic film footage and photographs of the State Funeral and national mourning.

It opens at the Kennedy Library on Friday and runs through President’s Day on February 23, 2014.

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