Martin Sablik, ’56, on November 22, 1963

The author in high school

Where was I on the afternoon of November 22, 1963? Well, I was alive and a graduate student in physics at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY. I had gone home for lunch at noontime. I walked home and it was 20-25 minutes away from the classroom building.

No one else was home, so after fixing myself a quick lunch, I plopped down on my bed and continued reading the book, “Alas, Babylon.” The book focused on a family that lived in a town a little south of Gainesville, FL but north of Orlando. In the book a nuclear war started and ended in very fast fashion with A-bombs from Russia dropped on the SAC bases in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and a base just a little south and a little west of Miami. There were other bases across the country that were destroyed as well.   The rest of the book focused on the aftermath. It was quite interesting and I read through the book enrapt in the story. [sic]

I sat there, but my mind was jumbled and I was devastated.

About 3:30pm I started for the Physics Dept. again so as to attend a colloquium. When I got there, I was puzzled. The radio was on, and many people were listening to it. I learned that Kennedy had been shot, and now the radio was recounting the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald. Just then, it was time for the colloquium to start up, and the speaker, who was from out of town, started giving his talk. Well, I sat there, but my mind was jumbled and I was devastated. I sat for an hour, but I don’t think I heard a word of what was said in the talk, and I wonder how many others in the audience were responding in the same way that I did. I was glad the talk was over when it ended. Though the speaker was from out of town, I wondered if others in the audience felt as I did, which was that the talk should have been canceled.

Martin Sablik, ’56, in September 2013 in Hungary at the Soft Magnetic Materials Conference in Budapest