We Were On A Russian Ship

An excerpt from Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories available at amazon.com

We left Greece on a Russian ship to Istanbul and on to Odessa. Before we got to Istanbul, John Kennedy, who sent us to Africa, was murdered. In the ship’s lounge the bar tender said that the radio was telling, in Russian of course, that Kennedy had been shot in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald. At first I didn’t believe him because he was a communist and they told lies, right? Two other Americans at the bar confirmed that Kennedy was indeed scheduled to be in Dallas. I went to our room and woke Joyce and told her the sad news. We sat up the rest of the night. During our four hour stop in Istanbul we found some students who translated the Turkish newspaper story for us. I was shocked by the students’ joy at Kennedy’s murder.

….In Moscow, we watched the Kennedy funeral on television. I saw Russians gently weeping as they watched.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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