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John F. Kennedy assassination: Where were you when you learned the news?

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - If you walk to anyone who was alive when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed, they typically remember exactly where they were when they heard the tragic news.

The concept of what are called "flashbulb memories" is a unique one. Experts say that a highly-detailed, very specific memory of a specific moment is common when someone learns of a surprising or unexpected piece of news.

These flashbulb memories are indelible for those alive on Nov. 22, 1963, when the president was assassinated in Dallas.

From being in school and learning the news from a teacher or a principal to hearing their parents talk about it at home, those alive 50 years ago can recite - with startling clarity - the intricacies of where they were and what they heard.

"I clearly remember somebody running out of a dry cleaner saying that the president had been shot," D.C. resident Kate Girous, who was 9 at the time, recalled.

Others remember watching the continuing televised coverage of the event, an unprecedented feat in the early days of television.

"When we saw Jackie Kennedy in that pink suit with the blood on it, it just tore my heart," D.C. resident Jareta Coyle said.

The four-day weekend of national mourning is still vivid for those who lived through it. Funeral crowds would pack the streets of Washington the following monday to see Kennedy's flag-draped coffin travel from the White House to the Capitol

From that specific event, the vision of a young John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father remains etched into our collective memories.

"I just felt the kind of sadness that one tends to feel when a loved one in the family has been lost," D.C. resident Gloria Davidson Hart said.

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