Fifty years ago Friday, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed riding in a motorcade though Dallas. News of Kennedy’s assassination resonated deeply with Americans, the point where even today, a full 95 percent of Americans old enough to remember the event say they know exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot.
According to Pew Research, nearly every American old enough to remember the assassination says they know exactly where they were or what they were doing when Kennedy was shot. Polling Americans who were eight years old or older at the time, Pew found that 95 percent of Americans remembered where they were at the time of the killing. The only other event in American history to have such a profound effect on Americans’ psyches was the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A full 97 percent of responders said they knew what they were doing at the time of the attacks.
In comparison, 81 percent of responders remember where they were when Osama bin Laden was killed, while 72 percent remember such events as Martin Luther King’s 1968 assassination. Only 58 percent of Americans remember details of the Belin Wall falling in 1989. See the full chart below:
While nearly every American born in or before 1955 can recall when they learned of Kennedy’s death, the number of overall Americans who can remember the event is steadily declining. Pew reports that as of July 2012, only 28.9 percent of Americans (90.63 million people) are even capable of remembering Kennedy’s assassination.
According to Pew, adults can only recall memories formed after the age of four, meaning that anyone able to remember Kennedy's assassination must have been born before 1959. That leaves 223.3 million Americans too young to remember Kennedy’s death. And of course, as time marches on, the number of Americans able to recall Kennedy’s assassination will only drop further.