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The Lima News

Fifty years ago today, the week began like any other Sunday in the late autumn of 1963.

Lima area residents who wished to watch NFL football on television had their choice of just two games: the Cleveland Browns vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, or the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears. Both games began at 2 p.m.

There was no Sunday night football, but of course, you didn't need any. The Ed Sullivan show came on at 8 p.m. and it was followed by Bonanza at 9 o'clock. Nothing could compete with that.

Meanwhile, The Lima News was filled with the news of the day.

The Rev. Ronald Cannon of Lima Baptist Temple vowed he would publicly oppose any move to amend an existing ordinance that banned minors from entering billiard parlors unless they were accompanied by a parent. Rev. Cannon was responding to a change sought by Toby Cardone, owner of 20th Century Recreation.

A Hints from Heloise column offered laundry tips to wives who were having problems finding the right match for their husband's socks.

In Sports, the headlines were about Ohio State's Rose Bowl hopes being shattered after a 17-8 loss to Northwestern. The story noted that toward the end of the game, an airplane circled above Ohio Stadium carrying a banner, “Goodbye Woody.”

Chuck Dell's outdoor column told how hunters had a successful first weekend with several large convoys of quail observed west of Fort Shawnee.

And news about President John F. Kennedy was found throughout the paper.

On the Opinion Page, Oscar Cooley, an associate professor of economics at Ohio Northern University, wrote a column critical of the Kennedy administration for asking Congress to raise the debt limit to $315 billion. He urged less government spending and warned the U.S. debt was paving a road to socialism.

Barry Goldwater also sounded that theme in a syndicated column, saying “Americans are ignorant about the Constitution,” and had the “popular misconception that only the president is responsible for the nation's finances.”

On Page 1, Kennedy's trip to Cape Canaveral was the top news story. The United Press International report noted that Kennedy, clad in a navy blue windbreaker to ward off the ocean chill, watched the firing of the underwater Polaris missile for the first time, calling it “wonderful.”

Later that week, Kennedy would again dominate the news pages, but in a way no one would have imagined. The horrible news came out of Dallas that Friday: The president was assassinated.

It would be a day people would never forget.

This week will be filled with media accounts looking back at that tragic time in 1963 The week began so innocently 50 years ago, ironically, with people arguing about the same things we are arguing about today — government spending, football games, the deficit and the U.S. Constitution.

We ended the week horrified by the news of an American president being slain on our soil. By one of us.

It would take the nation many years to heal. We would go through two more assassinations — Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. — during the turbulent '60s.

Then came Timothy McVeigh and later 9-11.

Through it all, somehow America has managed to persevere. Only a great nation can show such resiliency in the worst of times.

Let us never forget we are a great nation.

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