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Local man remembers marching in Kennedy's funeral procession

This week, America is remembering its 35th, president, John F. Kennedy.
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas back in 1963.
Many people who were around back then can recall the moment they heard the president was dead.
Tonight, Channel Three's Kavontae Smalls speaks to a local man who marched in the fallen president's funeral.

It's been fifty years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
It's a day, Gerald McGill says, he'll never forget.

Gerald McGill - Marched In Kennedy's Funeral
"I remember vividly the afternoon, it was about 2 o'clock eastern time we were notified that the President had been shot in Dallas and he was dead."
McGill was a young cadet in the Coast Guard on that fateful day.
He says he always felt a personal connection to Kennedy.
He remembers the president often visiting the Coast Guard Academy.
"I had the opportunity to shake his hands and he seemed to genuinely care about everyone."

The night of Kennedy's assassination, he was told he'd be going to Washington DC to participate in the president's funeral procession, three days later.

"It was cold and drizzly.  We marched in Bridge Coats, they're heavy and added about ten pounds to what we were carrying with us."

McGill and his fellow cadets, marched behind Kennedy's flag draped coffin.
Thousands of people lined the street.
What stood out most to McGill was the end of the procession as he inched closer towards Kennedy's final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery.

"People were about 15 deep on each side and we marched in the middle of them, nobody spoke any words and everybody was crying."

In the years following Kennedy's burial, McGill went on to serve in Vietnam, and has been practicing law for the last 40 years.
But November of 1963, will stick with him forever.

"It still has an impact on me, and I'm sure it will for the remainder of my life."    

In Pensacola, Kavontae Smalls, Channel 3 News.