He once described himself as "an idealist without illusions." All of that came to a tragic screeching halt, 50 years ago today when President John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, Texas.

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

While the entire nation will stop to mark the event today, for many in New Jersey who remember it, it's still very raw.

November 22nd, 1963. The 35th President of the United States was on a political trip to Texas to try and help relations between a liberal and conservative. He was in the process of waving to a crowd of thousands, who came out to see his motorcade.

And then, the unthinkable happened. Kennedy was shot three times - once in the throat, once in the upper back and once in the head by a sniper. He was just 46 years old.

JFK was the youngest to die in office and it changed the face of a nation for years to come. Some have often speculated whether the world would be a different place today if the incident never happened.

It was shortly after the shots rang out that a young Walter Cronkite was breaking into regular programming on the CBS Television Network with the shocking news.

According to many shore residents we spoke to, they remember the incident like it was yesterday.

"I was about eight years old and home with the flu. I was watching American Bandstand when the story broke," One woman says. "I remember my mother sobbing hysterically. It's something that will always stay with me."

A man, who was 30 at the time of the incident, now 80 years old, said every time hes see the footage on the anniversary, he cries.

"It's impossible not to. He was so young, so full of promise. That was all gone in an instant," the man said.

Some of the people we spoke to believe that if Kennedy hadn't been assassinated and had the opportunity to finish out his full term, that maybe the Vietnam War would have been shorter than it was, the Civil Rights movement would have happened years before it actually did, and maybe the world of politics today would be different.

What do you think? Drop a comment on this page and tell us your memories from that day.