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The Boston Globe

Nation

JFK: 50 years later

The news hit, a rogue wave: sudden, unthinkable, savage

On Boston Common, parks workers in shirtsleeves strung the last of 30,000 colored lights around a life-sized creche, preparing for the start of the annual Christmas fest. In Braintree, police kept a watchful eye on reindeer that had twice bolted from a live holiday display at the South Shore Shopping Plaza, a new open-air mall in the suburbs.

And on Massachusetts Avenue, the proper set that preferred the Boston Symphony’s Friday afternoon performance filed in between the stately columns of Symphony Hall. Upstairs in the library, William Shisler was sitting at his desk, beneath towering shelves of sheet music, when the phone rang.

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