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As 50th Anniversary Of JFK Assassination Approaches, Local Witness Reflects

By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- On Friday, an English professor from the University of Scranton will stand at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas.

It's a place she knows well.

Fifty years ago, as an 11-year-old, it's the place where she became a witness to the horrific.

Nearly everyone alive in 1963 at some point has been asked, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?"

For 61-year-old Toni Glover she can say Dealey Plaza, Dallas within 100 feet of where a bullet pierced the President's skull - and a bright world of possibilities was shattered.

"I had about eight seconds of jubilation and then, it all just exploded in front of you," she said.

Toni Glover was just 11 on November 22nd, 1963.

The President and Mrs. Kennedy were coming to Dallas and she had to see them. Their celebrity wasn't her motivation.

"I had an abusive family. And in my 11-year-old magical thinking, if Kennedy saw me, if he smiles and waved, all of my life would be fine. No one would hurt a kid that Kennedy knew," she said.

Toni, dressed in a blue parka, and her mother arrived early at Dealey Plaza.

A pedestal would provide a panoramic view.

"I could see when he turned onto Houston, went around the corner and all the way down to the underpass," she said.

It was perfect.

"They looked up. I was way up in the air, screaming and yelling. You couldn't miss me. And smiled and waved," Glover said.

"I was just so thrilled. and then, he turned the corner, and his head exploded."

Graphic, yes.

And seared.

"The image of him waving and the image of him dying are burned of course," she said.

But in 1995 before leaving for a teaching position at the University of Scranton, Glover wanted to leave an oral history of her experience at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

She made a discovery she never expected.

"It was three or four frames of the Mark Bell film that shows the girl in blue. I move my arms like this to get the President's attention," Glover said.

"With me standing up on the pedestal… but it's proof of what I knew. But there was a picture… It was powerful."

CBS 3's Pat Ciarrocchi asked Toni about the shots.

She described a first loud bang that got your attention, and then, two gunshots.

When Toni saw the sophisticated Jackie Kennedy in her pink suit climb onto the trunk of the limo, she knew something awful had happened.

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