JFK assassination: CBS will stream its original news coverage from Nov. 22, 1963

Those of us who were aware of the world at the time know exactly where we were when we heard the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We all went home from school early and turned on our TVs. We remember a lot of what we saw. Some of the details are vivid, but some of the news coverage exists in our long-term memories only as impressionistic images.

But now we can see it all again, from the first news flash [“Shots fired in Dallas”] through the entire four day TV vigil that kept us glued to our sets. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of that jaw-dropping, earth-shattering, emotional time, CBS.com will begin streaming its news coverage–as it happened--at 1:40 pm Eastern Time, on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.

The extensive online offering will feature the  minute-by-minute CBS News broadcasts in real time as they were delivered during the four-day period following the assassination.

CBSNews.com’s special four-day anniversary online stream will begin at 1:40 PM ET on  Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 with the first breaking network television news  bulletin alerting viewers shots had been fired in Dallas.

CBSNews.com will then stream the CBS News coverage, including the first report from legendary anchor Walter Cronkite and the extraordinary broadcasts from  New York, Dallas, Washington and around the world as it unfolded over  four days, culminating with the president’s funeral.

The historic coverage will continue through the weekend, ending Monday,  Nov. 25 with coverage of the president’s funeral and other news of that  days.

I’ll be watching the whole thing–not because I want to feel how I felt as a 17-year-old high-schooler that day–I don’t–but for several other reasons: One: it’s a rare opportunity to see breaking news as it was presented back then, when live TV coverage of breaking news was still a novelty. Two: It’s a chance to watch history as it happened. And three: It’s as close as I’m going to get to a time machine that can take me back to look at a time that rocked my previously innocent view of America [Some of us really did think, in those first few days, that the assassination of JFK and the subsequent murder of his killer was the beginning of the end of our country. In fact, we are still reeling.]

It’s not just for us ancients, by the way. There’s a lot to be learned by watching it happen. You can’t get this in a textbook, or in a mashed-up, edited  documentary. This is the raw stuff–the first edition. Even if you don’t remember that day, even if you weren’t born yet–the assassination and its effect on the American psyche are still impacting your life in ways worthy of discussion. Watch it here, at CBS.com