. There is some solace but little cheer these days on the porch. And, as the days wear on into fall, the forecast for news promises to continue bleak and dark. That's truly a function of life in these United States as we try to deal with the tragedies that struck our fair land in the last week.

There's an old saying that when a traumatic event takes place, you can always remember the time of day and exactly where you were. Well, ol' Morgan vividly recalls where he was when another national tragedy took place. The date was Nov. 23, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was felled by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas.

Ol' Morgan was a sophomore in high school in his eighth period biology class. It was about 10 minutes after two. All of a sudden, the principal, who was not given much to making announcements over the PA, delivered the tragic news: The president had been shot. Consider school dismissed.

Our biology teacher, a bear of a man, who always kept a steady hand on his emotions, gazed out the window, asked that we say a prayer, and then sent us on our way.

Since ol' Morgan's ancestral home was way up in the northeast section of Philadelphia and his high school was way over and just beyond the city's northwest section, it took from an hour to an hour-and-a-half to make the journey home via the PTC.

Ol' Morgan felt stunned by the news and functioned in something of a catatonic station that journey. As his gaze went from fellow-passenger to fellow-passenger on the series of buses he had to take to reach the "Great Northeast," ol' Morgan saw confused and resigned looks.

He couldn't comprehend the almost incredible magnanimity of what had happened. But, once home, he raced out for copies of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Evening Bulletin, and the Philadelphia Daily News to see how the events of Dallas would be treated.

"President Shot Dead" was the huge headline in the EXTRA! edition of The Evening Bulletin. It draped a large picture of the fallen president. The other papers had extras and huge headlines, too. In fact, this was the first time that ol' Morgan had ever seen such banner headlines first hand. Oh, sure, there were the headlines in the World War II book heralding VE Day and VJ Day that ol' Morgan's father had squirrled away under the old basement steps. But, ol' Morgan was holding in his hands the catastrophic news of that November day.

Getting closer to today, the Persian Gulf War generated its share of huge headlines, but they reported on events taking place half-way around the world. But, today, the news over the wireless and in print is of an attack on our own home soil.

As you may recall, ol' Morgan worked in NewYork for a time. In fact, he once held a press conference in a restaurant called "Windows on the World" atop the World Trade Center. And it was one successful event. Ol' Morgan remembers pressing his nose against the floor-to-ceiling windows on the 108th floor that looked out over New York harbor. The Staten Island ferries resembled cigars as they plied their courses across the water. From where ol' Morgan was standing, he observed helicopters flying below the 108th floor.

And, now both World Trade Center towers are gone as are the lives and futures of countless thousands of people.

But for us, fall is only four days away.

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