H-SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY

Nov 23, 2013 2:19 AM by Victoria Johnson

Local woman recalls vivid memories of watching JFK's motorcade

A woman on the Central Coast has vivid memories of the day the 35th president was killed. Arroyo Grande resident Pat Ward stood in the crowds and watched John F. Kennedy pass by in an open limousine. On Friday, she shared her memories of the day the president was shot. Ward says when she first heard the president had been shot, she didn't believe it. She had just come from watching him drive down the Dallas streets in the motorcade. One minute President Kennedy was waving to fellow countrymen and the next minute, he was gone.

"Kennedy was a very charismatic type person and very well liked. Everybody believed that he was going to do what needed to be done for the country. It was a sad day for the entire nation. I saw the president and Mrs. Kennedy go by and it wasn't like a regular parade. It was a motorcade," said Ward.

She said after she saw the president drive by, she returned to work when someone asked her if she had heard the president was shot. "And you don't believe it. You just saw him. It hadn't been 20 minutes," said Ward."The other fact from that day is that my husband at the time was a Dallas fireman. He got off work and he was in the theatre and the lights came up and he saw someone run in. All of a sudden, there were a lot of people running in and there was a noise behind him and he turned around. There was a rifle in his face and they said don't move. He was in the balcony. All the scuffling was going on and that is when they captured Oswald. Everybody that I knew liked the president and they were sad for that and for the family. He had two small children that was sad too," said Ward. "I felt like the country was naïve and it changed the way the country looked at things just like 9-11 did. He's gone and it was a light that was snuffed out that day," said Ward.

Pat Ward said that every year at this time, she thinks about that day and how the events fifty years ago changed the mentality of how our nation deals with national tragedies.

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