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Originally published: 2013-11-25 14:25:57
Last modified: 2013-11-25 14:30:02

Their View: Wataugans in mourning

Editor's note: The following comments were published in the Watauga Democrat on Nov. 28, 1963.

A plethora of statements from prominent Watauga County people, voicing their reactions to the death of President Kennedy and their outlooks for the future, poured into the Democrat office Monday. A few of these statements follow:

Wade E. Brown, Mayor of Boone, said: "My initial thought was, 'What will happen to the country now?' but after a little thought I realized that America has had periods of crisis before. I have every confidence that things will work out and that we will pull through."

Dr. W.H. Plemmons, President of Appalachian State Teachers College, said: "The tragic and untimely death of President Kennedy was shockingly incredible. It leaves us all with a feeling of emptiness and makes us realize how unnecessary and futile it was. At this Thanksgiving season, deep as our sorrow is, we can be thankful for his leadership and his life, even though he did not get to realize the completion of his programs. They will be continued and his contribution to them will become more meaningful and significant with the passing of time."

Clyde R. Greene, President of Farmers Hardware and Supply Co., said: "I am shocked beyond measure at the world tragedy. The assassin's bullet has brought sorrow to every American citizen. President Kennedy was a dedicated public servant who has given his last full measure of strength in the service of our country. I cannot conceive a hatred so deep for any individual, especially the President of our country. I join all Americans in sympathy for the President's family. President Johnson has the training and background for excellent leadership. I wish him every success in his efforts to carry our national forward and to establish peace and good will among the nations."

James Marsh, Secretary of the Watauga Savings and Loan Association, said: "This is probably the greatest tragedy that has ever befallen the United States; but at the same time, it ought to bring us closer together. We ought to take a new look at ourselves and dedicate ourselves to making this national greater than it has ever been before. With the proper perspective, I think we can do this, though a great leader has fallen. The nation's future is now, as never before, up to each individual. We should continue to work, just a little harder, to make everything just a little bit better."

Guy Angell, Watauga County Superintendent of Schools, had this to say: "The death of our President, John F. Kennedy, was a tragic loss to the American people and all the free world. We should all be thankful for his many outstanding contributions and for the worthy ideas instilled into our people during his dedicated service to our nation. It is my opinion that the transition of government from one President to another will be made rapidly and efficiently under the capable and efficient leadership of President Johnson."

The Rev. J. Boyce Brooks, pastor of Boone's First Baptist Church, said this: "We mourn the tragic death of President Kennedy. It is utter folly for a life so young and so useful to be sacrificed in vain. This does not have to be; for we, the citizens of this great land can, with the help of Almighty God, turn tragedy into triumph, darkness into light, and keep freedom from becoming a license for evil. If his death can awaken our nation from its moral and spiritual complacency, and help drive out the prejudices that consume us, it will not be in vain."