Missoula
81° F
Clear
Clear
Kalispell
71° F
Thunderstorm
Thunderstorm
Bozeman
81° F
Clear
Clear
Advertisement

Hamilton High government teacher explores JFK with students

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Nov 22 2013 06:57:44 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 22 2013 08:31:18 PM MST

Lee Mitchell remembers where he was the day President Kennedy died.

Like the students he teaches today, he was in school.

HAMILTON, Mont. -

Americans old enough to remember the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy will tell you exactly where they were this day in 1963.

For vast numbers of them, it would be on the playground, in an algebra class, or eating lunch in a school cafeteria.

On this sad date in history, we wanted perspective from teachers and students.

The seniors in Lee Mitchell's government class were born more than 30 years after President Kennedy was killed.

In 1963, Mr. Mitchell was a junior high kid in Hamilton. That morning, on November 22, he had just come in from lunch.

"Having a teacher come in who had been crying was out of the norm," said Mitchell.

The entire country was out of the norm -- sad, lost, afraid.

The seniors remember their own pivotal moments. The Iraq War, and of course, 9/11. They know President Kennedy through old film clips.

"He had good intentions for the country," said senior Devyn Hafer.

"Lyndon B. Johnson was Kennedy's successor," said senor Kaleb Lewis, "and he honored him by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

Mitchell said he believes the country lost much of its vision when Kennedy died. He sees renewed vision in the faces of his students.

"We as a people need to give back," said senior Mikky Henrie, of JFK's famous line, "Ask not what your country can do for you."

Mitchell urges students to weigh Kennedy in all lights -- his failures and successes. He wants to instill knowledge, confidence and hope.

"There are people out there that can inspire a nation," said the teacher. "We just have to get them serving us."