David Bedein
David BedeinArutz Sheva

Journalist David Bedein was an eighth grader at Akiba Hebrew Academy in Merion, Pennsylvania when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

“As I walked out of school to catch the bus home that Friday afternoon, a seventh grader down the steps, yelled out the news that the president had been shot dead in Dallas,” Bedein recalls. “I'll never forget those ten long minutes of walking to the bus. When we got on the bus at City Line Avenue, people of all ages were sobbing. A black man said to the driver, 'Do you know what he did for us?'"

“The Kennedy assassination was not just a murder of the man but a murder of all hope,” Bedein told Arutz Sheva. “It was the murder of the man who gave the speech, 'Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.' He came 100 years after the Civil War and 15 years after World War II, in which the United States saved the world from tyranny. He initiated the Peace Corps, fought for civil rights, he called to help poor nations abroad, and to act in accordance with the theme of his book, 'Profiles in Courage': Be proud to stand for the principles of your country, no matter what.”

"We saw all this as children and you couldn't help admiring him,” recalled Bedein.

Bedein's father worked as an air conditioning technician in Washington, DC, and stayed there on weekdays. On the bus, the young Bedein spotted the editor of the high school paper, a girl aged 17. "I told her that I have a place to stay I Washington and asked if I could go cover the funeral. She agreed immediately and that was actually my first journalistic mission.”

"I took photos of the president's casket, of the riderless horse. I saw little John-John pointing at the casket. No one could help being emotional.”

As a young reporter, he asked some of the delegates from various countries what was the message in their coming to the funeral. “They answered – 'We came to say thank you to America, for saving the world from Germany and Japan.' They never got another chance to say thank you.”