Bells ring in Louisville for JFK; Kentuckiana remembers


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 7:43 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? We asked that question around town in Louisville, Friday as the bells rang to mark the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Joe Melillo was in seventh grade when the news flooded his classroom.

"The teacher came in and I could tell he was quite upset. I was living in Oklahoma at the time and he said, 'The president's been shot and it doesn't look good.' He was crying and all of us looked at each other and didn't really know what was going on and he came back later and said, 'the president is dead,'" Melillo said.

Melillo would later come home to the footage of that day from Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas. Little did he know, another shock would come 2 days later.

"They were coming out with Oswald and they said, 'he's going to get shot, I guarantee it.' And ten seconds later, Jack Ruby did the deed and I was just floored," Melillo said.

"I've seen it. I've been looking at it the last couple of days. Just to see what it was like, what I could remember about it," Jerome Brooks said.

Brooks was just ten years old when the Kennedy assassination took place. He'd later grow up to serve on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy in the North Atlantic.

"I was on the ship when it had an accident," Brooks said.

Ironically, 8 years after Kennedy's death, on November 22, 1975, the Kennedy collided with the U.S.S. Belknap, killing a man.

"For me it was the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy," Brooks said. "It's got a lot to do with why I'm here today to celebrate the death of President Kennedy."

A celebration met with skies that resembled the nation's mood after Kennedy's assassination.

"Everybody was downcast and blue for a good six months," Melillo said.

For many people like Brooks and Melillo, the case of Kennedy's death is not closed.

"It was a happenstance that we still don't know the story of," Melillo said.

"I'm still trying to figure what happened and who did it," Brooks said.

It was a time of confusion and chaos both wish to erase with better times.

"I look back with fond memories, before LBJ got in office," Melillo laughed.