WESTBOROUGH – Nov. 22, 1963. Dallas, Texas.
A date and place that still evokes that memory of “where were you.”
For Paul McGrath, his memory of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy locked in when he was a senior in high school.
“The world changed,” he said. “Kennedy was like our new hope.”
Six decades have passed since that event. Those who were children or young adults back then have lived their lives, raised their families, and many are now retired.
But they still remember.
Knowing that even a seemingly indelible moment such as this can fade with time, McGrath worked with Westborough TV to produce a special edition of his program, “From the Sidelines – Westborough Remembers Nov. 22.”
He interviewed nearly two dozen residents, including Rev. James Flynn, who was attending seminary in Washington, D.C., when the assassination took place. The priest took part in the funeral, and he was part of the vigil in the East Room of the White House. During the vigil, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy came and prayed with the priests.
Other residents who recorded interviews in the five-chapter program include local historian Kris Allen, James Tepper, Patricia “Bunny” Perron, Judith Meltzer and Bill Linnane.
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McGrath even blended a bit of sports into the program; there are photos of the Kennedys taking part in football, sailing and other activities.
While spending a few days on Cape Cod in 2022, McGrath and his wife visited a bookstore. McGrath noticed a section called Where Were You that included a book on the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination.
That gave him the idea for a documentary on the 60th anniversary.
“The criteria – you currently live in Westborough, and be older than me,” said McGrath.
Work began with the collection of prospective interview subjects. Taping took place in July, and the footage was edited and compiled in September.
“It’s a fabulous show,” said Karen Henderson, general manager for Westborough TV, who plans to nominate the program for at least one national award.
Recording and preserving stories such as these “is a big part of what we do,” she added.
“Westborough Remembers Nov. 22” is available via https://westboroughtv.org/ and on YouTube.