November twenty-three, in the year of sixty three
Four friends stood on the ridges of Big Double.
A Virginia Mountain in the county of Craig
So peaceful, yet soon to be a day of great trouble.
Our senses were eager, our rifles were ready
The plan at hand was one of pleasure,
With stealth we listened as we watched each trail
For a deer whose rack would reach full measure.
Off to the right, the crack of a two-seventy caliber
Tension mounted as my eyes scanned the scene,
When suddenly, to the left a volley of gunfire
“He’s Mine!” rang a voice, clear and keen.
A ten-point buck, a twenty-one inch spread
Lay at the feet of our hunting pard’.
Our trip down was difficult and long
Carrying that carcass was trying and hard.
Across the logs, rocks and hollows
We finally arrived at our parking spot.
The driver who waited for our return
Yelled, “President Kennedy has just been shot!”
On that day in the beautiful Blue Ridge
Little did we think amid the shots we heard,
That another shooter in a distant place
Would attempt an act that was so absurd.
The Dallas visit had become a tragedy
The specter of death with its foreboding face,
Had brought a shock to men everywhere
Closing the gap between time and space.
My friend has a trophy on his living room wall
The luck of the hunt, a reminder for years,
A vignette of history yet from an awkward time
A snapshot of a nation’s heart, marked with bitter tears.
By the Grace of God, America is still free
In spite of the efforts of twisted minds,
With respect for all who died for our land
Our prayer should be for the tie that binds.
Fifty years have passed since that sad hour
The White House has been home to nine different men,
Our nation has survived both good times and bad
With future hope, and memories of what has been.
More vivid to me in these tension-filled times
Are these timeless words from JFK’s legacy,
“Ask not what your country can do for you,
Ask, what can I do for my country.”
Jack D. Harris, Minister
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