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Observations from the archives, 1963: Every student sat motionless

1913, 100 years ago: In the Personals and Locals column: Dr. Bancroft will take on “Hoodoos” or “Riddles of the Mind” at Brown’s Theatre Monday evening, December 1. Admission is adults 50 cents and children 25 cents. No one should miss this entertainment. Get your seats early. In other news, Mrs. Knute Nelson and Miss Nelson left for Washington, D.C. They have been spending the summer here.

1963, 50 years ago: Alexandria and Douglas County joined the rest of the nation and the free world in mourning the death of President John F. Kennedy. Church services were held on Monday morning, November 25 by every denomination, and retail stores, schools and public offices were closed throughout the day. Alexandria’s television and radio stations have remained with network news coverage virtually every minute of the broadcasting and telecasting day. KCMT-TV remained on the air throughout the night Sunday to Monday morning, carrying network coverage of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the president’s bier in the Capitol rotunda.

1988, 25 years ago: According to Douglas County Highway Engineer Lynn Olson, the county highway department is currently responsible for removing snow on about 1,068 lane miles on streets and highways. That total includes 25 miles of city streets and highways in Alexandria, Brandon, Carlos, Evansville, Forada, Garfield, Kensington, Millerville, Miltona and Nelson (Osakis maintains all its own streets). There are 19 highway maintenance employees, including a supervisor, a foreman, two mechanics, seven motor grader operators, and eight truck drivers. Twenty-three machines are used to clear away snow and the equipment is valued at more than $1.7 million. During a winter storm, the highway department follows a procedure. Its first job is to keep the highways open until schools and businesses have safely closed, Olson said. After that, it does only limited plowing because of darkness and poor visibility. The department, however, does provide emergency service anywhere, anytime.

2003, 10 years ago: Hal “Buzz” Miller, former Alexandria athlete and graduate, was recently named 2003 Girls Tennis Coach of the Year in Class AA by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association. In 26 years as head coach of the Willmar Cardinals, Miller has a 377-154 record. His teams have won eight Central Lakes Conference championships, including a 32-match winning streak from 1986-89. Miller has also been head coach of the boys’ tennis program at Willmar since the 1988 season. Miller is in his 34th year teaching physical education and health and is also an assistant coach for girls’ basketball in Willmar.

In Memoriam – 1963, 50 years ago: “Two Jeffersonians – Class of 1964” wrote (in part): “To the editor: As the dreaded report [of President Kennedy’s assassination] penetrated each classroom by means of the intercom, nearly every student sat motionless in a state of utter disbelief. Tears welled in the eyes of many and in the hearts of all. As the bell rang, none of the usual hall clamor was to be heard. Students met their friends with unspoken communication as the echo of shuffling feet filled each corridor. Faces visibly reflected deep concern and reverence. These feelings were mutually shared with members of the faculty. As students and members of the student body, we would like to express our sincere respect for all of these young Americans. We are proud.”

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Rachel Barduson of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist to the Echo Press Opinion page.