Where were you when you heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot?
For years, journalist Holly Millea has concluded interviews with that question. In her decades-long career as a magazine writer, Millea has interviewed dozens of cultural icons who have shared vivid memories of what they were doing on November 22, 1963, when three gunshots fired in Dallas changed America forever.
Jimmy Carter, still a Georgia farmer, had just come in from plowing a field. After hearing the news, he went back outside and wept. Robert Redford was starring in “Barefoot in the Park” on Broadway and could barely remember his lines that night. Artist Chuck Close was at Yale, horrified to see law students toasting JFK’s death. Barbra Streisand was buying a necklace, which she still owns but has never been able to wear. And Nora Ephron was a twenty-two-year-old reporter at the “New York Post.” “It was one of those days when I had a harrowing sense of how much I was a journalist, as opposed to a human being,” she recalled. “My instinct wasn’t to weep. It isn’t that I didn’t feel terrible, it’s just that I also felt ‘I’m a journalist and I’m going back to the city room, where I belong.’”
The Byliner Original “Seven Seconds” is an oral history of the day John F. Kennedy was killed, told through the voices of men and women who made their own impact on American culture and whose work is still relevant today. James Patterson, Jeff Bridges, Diane Keaton, Charlie Rose, James L. Brooks, Gay Talese, Judy Collins, Tom Stoppard, Meryl Streep, Dick Cavett, Peter Fonda, Gayle King, James Ellroy, Carl Reiner, Barney Frank, Donna Karan, and Lauren Bacall are among the many people Millea has spoken with about that fateful day. Everyone old enough has a story. And long or short, heartbreaking or wry, every story further illuminates not just a time and place, but an era. As John Kennedy said, “History, after all, is the memory of a nation.”
The whole world will be marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination this fall. Seven Seconds poses the question that many of us will be asking: Where were you?"
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