Jonesboro man recalls JFK assassination while in Dallas - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro man recalls JFK assassination while in Dallas

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-  A Jonesboro man was in Dallas the same time President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago. 

Joel Gambill was traveling with the Arkansas State University football team to a game in San Antonio but they had to land in Dallas for fuel.

"With us, those of us my age, my era will always remember what they were doing, where they were when President Kennedy was shot," Gambill said.

Gambill is a retired ASU journalism professor and said everything about that day is embedded in his mind.  

After stopping for fuel in Dallas, Gambill said he remembers seeing Air Force One.

 "We were out wondering around and we spotted the president's plane so we walked over to the plane," he said.

Gambill said he and a friend shot pictures of the plane before being told they were going back in the air.

"We're in route to San Antonio when news came to us by our stewardess that the president had been shot," he said. "There was just silence and we didn't really know what to think."

By the time the plane landed in San Antonio, Gambill said he remembers seeing extra editions of the newspapers out on the street.

"During that period, it seemed like everything shut down,"Gambill said. "This was a time I will never forget. It's embedded in my mine and will be."

He said the news of the assassination took an emotional toll on him.

"I was very emotional during that period, I was struck by the funeral and the procession," Gambill said. "There was always a photograph that stood out in my mind and that was the one of little John Kennedy saluting the casket."

He said for weeks the country mourned the president's death.  

"A lot of people don't remember how they got from one place to another during that time because their mind was so focused on what was taking place," he said.

Gambill said it was something about Kennedy that gave the country hope.

"He was really energetic and one that a lot of young people at that time were really able to identify with," he said.

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