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Yesterday in La Crosse

The U.S. suddenly had a new leader on Nov. 22, in 1963

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Nov. 22 in 1963 marked the last time that Americans woke up with a president who would not be alive by the end of the day. 

President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie had gone to Texas on a political trip when the president and Texas Gov. John Connally were shot while riding in an open car in Dallas that Friday afternoon. 

Kennedy died, while Connally recovered and later ran for president himself. Lyndon Johnson of Texas suddenly became president.

The three big TV networks suspended all their regular programming for four days to cover the assassination, meaning cancellation of programs such as “The Twilight Zone,” “Route 66,” Ed Sullivan, and a Grammy Awards special.

That Nov. 22, was unusually warm in La Crosse, with a high of 59. That record high for the day would stand for nearly 50 years, until a high of 64 was set in 2012. 

The Sears store in downtown La Crosse was advertising deals on sewing machines and vinyl recliners. 

The NFL played its games as usual that weekend and La Crosse Central High School beat Richland Center in basketball at the Mary E. Sawyer auditorium. 

And the Friday fish fry specials also went on as usual, but as David Brinkley said that night on NBC, what happened in Dallas that day was “too much, too ugly, and too fast”… in 1963, yesterday in La Crosse.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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