EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written three years ago on Nov. 22, 2013. We have decided to republish it again. Please note that you can still post your experiences of what happened that day in the comment section below.
by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — One could argue on Nov. 22, 1963, Wellington was in its heyday as a burg.
Wal-Mart and Dillons hadn’t taken hold of the town yet. The downtown was thriving and several supermarkets and department stores were vying for the consumer’s attention.
As a result, the Wellington Daily News was a spirited and thriving six-day a week newspaper filled with all the national, state and local news any local reader would ever need.
And on that Friday afternoon edition, the WDN had one hell of a story to tell.
Draped across the top in bold 100-point font black, a headline screamed “PRESIDENT KENNEDY ASSASSINATED!” In less dramatic print was “Killed by sniper; governor wounded.”
The shooting occurred at 12:29 p.m. that day. Undoubtedly, the WDN editors were busy piecing the paper together on an approaching deadline when the news hit some 30 minutes later. As a result, the front page was a big schizophrenic. On the left side, the paper was filled with regular type news. The right side was the JFK assassination news. In the news business that is called digging a hole to get in a last second big news story.
Eddie Shaw, who wrote a popular column called “Reporting Mainstreet,” wrote that day about the arrival of the various local 1964 calendars and the Wellington junior high play at the time called “The Mouse that Roared.”
The paper captured the essence of the moment that the community of Wellington and millions of people everywhere were experiencing. In the middle of complete routine, the President of the United States was shot and killed.
Would there ever be a more collective shocking jolt to the American people then at that particular moment in time? It’s hard to imagine. After all, it was 1963.