Boise & Garden City

JFK: Statesman readers on the day their world changed

Boisean Garn Christensen was a 24-year-old Army veteran working as a telecommunications monitor in Salt Lake in 1963.

AT&T had switchboards in 1963. Lights would flash as the operators plugged in cords to connect calls.

“We called the boards ‘Christmas trees’ because of all the lights,” said Christensen.

As he worked the morning of Nov. 22, the lights on the switchboards suddenly started fading out. The board turned entirely black. No one was making phone calls because they were just hearing about the shooting.

“I thought something was going on, that there had been a power outage,” said Christensen.

A minute later, a woman rushed into the room and told everyone that Kennedy had been shot.

The switchboards started flashing again as people started placing calls to spread the news.

Christensen was in the Army during the Cuban missile crisis. He remembers Kennedy’s leadership.

“Kennedy was my commander-in-chief. Even if you’re a million miles apart. That’s a special connection,” he said.

Many memories

Christensen was one of nearly 90 Statesman readers who shared their memories of Nov. 22, 1963. We weren't prepared for the power of all thise remembrances after all these years. Many were in school that day, be it elementary or college. Others were with the military, and a few were abroad.

Where they were:

What they remember: