The Day JFK Died

November 22, 1963 stands out as one of our nation’s saddest moments. Those of us alive at that time remember where we were when we heard the chilling news that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

Our nation was thrown into mourning. People wondered what would happen to our country. What would happen to President Kennedy’s beautiful wife Jackie and his young children, Caroline, and John? Fourteen-year old Larry (my husband) had another question: What happened to President Kennedy?

President Kennedy personified power and charisma. Bodyguards surrounded him. If the most powerful and protected man in the world couldn’t be saved from an untimely death, what did that say about Larry’s vulnerability? Larry couldn’t shake the worry: What would happen to me if I died?

My husband grew up in a family who attended church and believed in Jesus. But Larry’s family’s faith didn’t take away his doubts about his own eternal destiny. That night Larry couldn’t sleep. He needed to settle this nagging question about his eternal security.

Larry tiptoed into his parents bedroom and roused his dad. He told him he was afraid to die. Mr. Wilson reminded Larry of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

“Would you like to be sure you’ll have eternal life if something happens to you?” he said.

“I sure would!” Larry said.

Larry prayed that night and asked Jesus to give him eternal life. He thanked Him for paying the penalty of his sins and asked him to forgive him of all the wrongs he had or ever would commit. He asked to experience the free gift of eternal life.

Larry says he lost something the night JFK died. He lost the crippling fear of death.

One day all of us will lose our life here on earth, no matter how protected, wealthy, or healthy we are. President Kennedy’s tragic death fifty years ago changed Larry’s life. Larry realized his own vulnerability and discovered eternal life.

Question: Where were you the day JFK died? Have you settled the question of your own eternal security?

Click here to comment.


Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson

Photo by: thesmuggler- Night of the Swallow”

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  1. Keita Ikeda

    Hi Debbie,

    The atonement for sins as a legal transactions is only the beginning. There’s more to salvation than just eternal life, if you’re willing to venture taking risks, as He is underwriting our passage here on earth as well as in heaven. Notice the clause that goes before the great commission: All power has been given unto me. Therefore…

    • Debbie Wilson

      Keita, I believe the the Bible uses the term eternal life to refer to quality as well as quantity of life. It begins the moment we receive Christ. But to those who fear death, the promise of a better life after death is a real hope. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ann

    That was beautiful Deborah. I was 10 and remember it vividly – all the sad TV coverage. It frightened and shocked my 10 year old mind that those children could lose their father. While I did not receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord at that time – I have, many years ago now and I know where I’m going one day and Who I will be with. What peace that brings!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I remember being shocked too. Like you, it was later—when I was in middle school—that I came to know Jesus as my Savior. Thank you for sharing the source of your peace.

  3. Caroline Gavin

    Debbie, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful reflection. Blessed we are to know Jesus as our Savior; shocking tragedies such as this provide us all the more reason to live and share His love. Thank you for sharing hope as we travel Heaven-bound in Christ!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Caroline. How sweet to share the journey with each other.

  4. Vernell Dees

    I was in 10th grade- Geometry class, Ms. Michael was the teacher- when the announcement came over the speaker. It was very disconcerting to know that something like that could happen to such a powerful and well-liked person. I was in shock. I did not know Jesus then but I do now and I’m very honored for the privilege of being a joint heir with Christ!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Awesome! Vernell, thanks for sharing.

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