'All My Children' Star Susan Lucci on Life, Career

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When we got to Copenhagen, we spent a week touring and seeing all of the sites before leaving for a week in Paris and then returning to the United States. When I arrived in New York, I remember sitting with my parents so I could tell them all about my wonderful experiences overseas. I shared how much I enjoyed exploring my Scandinavian heritage and how appreciative I was for the opportunity to live abroad. The Cuban missile crisis was fresh in my mind, as it had been less than a year since that threat was posed to our nation. As a young adult, I was well aware of those tense days. After spending three months out of the country, I told my parents I thought every teenager should have the opportunity to be an exchange student. If they did, I believed it would have a big impact on the younger generation's global outlook, and could result in less war. I was living in an era where war was happening all around us. Although I was just a little girl during the Korean War, I was old enough to be aware of Castro coming into power in Cuba and of the Bay of Pigs invasion. And I realized that we were still living in uncertain times. I followed current events closely and with great interest. I was too young to become an activist, but I wanted my parents to know that I was aware of what was happening. Like most parents, my mother and father did their best to shield me from the horrors of the world, but we were living in a time when they were hard to ignore. And to be frank, I didn't want to put my head in the sand. I was sitting in French class on November 22, 1963, when I heard the news. A friend of mine went running past the open door to my classroom. This was a girl who was usually very upbeat and funny, but she had just heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot, and was running down the hallways of our school screaming to let everyone know. We weren't sure if we should take her message seriously at first though. It only took a split second to realize that no one would say something so horrible in jest. Everything came to a stop. How could the president have been shot? I had never experienced anything like this before. I didn't know what to do. I, along with the rest of our class, was in a state of shock. There was a great heaviness throughout the school for the rest of the day, week, and for many months to come. Our country was crying. Every one of us was in tears. I'll never forget?we were supposed to put on a school play that weekend. Of course, we were taught that the show must go on. Although it seemed wrong on so many levels, my drama teacher reminded us that it was the first rule of the theater, so we all got into our costumes and were standing backstage when the school decided this was one time the show would not go on.

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