Posts by Walter Shapiro

  • My first plane flight, to mourn JFK

    Yahoo News8 mths ago

    A child’s first plane flight these days is about as much of a landmark event as that first elevator ride or an initial expedition to the dry cleaner. But things were different in the early 1960s, when air travel still had a whiff of glamor and most passengers were either wealthy or traveling on business.

    I was 16 years old when I boarded my first airplane on a frosty Sunday morning in November 1963, two days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. A close high school friend, Wally Marcus, and I flew from New York to Washington to bear witness — to mourn the slain president by viewing his flag-draped coffin lying in state in the Capitol.

    It was a journey that had begun for me when I stood along the railroad tracks in Connecticut, three days before the 1960 election, cheering the youthful senator from Massachusetts who would go on to win that race by a whisper over Republican Richard Nixon. We were going to honor the president who had guided the nation through the harrowing 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis without a bomb falling or a shot fired.

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