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Ballard: A childhood brush with history

PAULETTE BALLARD
Guest Columnist

Andrew Haislip is an employee at the Brian Center in Lincolnton. I asked him what was a moment he would never forget and he gave me the following story.
“I was eight years old and I was with my uncle in Washington, D.C. at the speech where President Ronald Reagan was shot. My uncle was part of the President’s security detail, although he was not on duty at the time I was visiting him.
“After completing his speech, the President began approaching his car to leave. The door to the car had already been opened for him and as he lifted his arm to wave goodbye to the crowd a shot rang out. The security team surrounding the President quickly thrust him into his limousine. My uncle later told me the driver was given instructions to take President Reagan to a secure location. The President said he didn’t feel well and the security guard sitting beside him began examining his clothing and saw blood exuding from a wound. Instead of going to the White House, they immediately went to Walter Reed Hospital to seek medical attention for the President. My uncle was told that if security had not gotten him to the hospital as quickly as they did, he would probably have died from losing so much blood.”
I told to Andrew about this being such a momentous day in history, and that he could tell his children that he was present when it happened.
“I really don’t remember that much about what happened to the President that day,” he said. “Everyone present was taken to the Hilton and we were told we had to stay there until security was sure there had been only one shooter. I had to go to the bathroom and unfortunately I got locked in for hours. The whole world was listening to these reports on radio and TV and I was worried about getting out of a locked bathroom.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at this turn of events. To be present at such an eventful occasion and only be able to remember being locked in a bathroom was hard to believe.
Paulette Ballard collects interesting, funny and unusual stories from people in and around Lincolnton. If you have a story you would like to submit for her column, e-mail it to pballardnc1029@yahoo.com. In the subject line type “For your column.” Include your name and phone number for her to contact you.

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