Tuesday, November 22, 2005

November 22

I always have some sadness on this day because it's the anniversary of the JFK assassination. An even sadder fact is that if I just call it the "Kennedy assassination" it needs to be distinguished from the RFK assassination. The Kennedys were very popular at our house. My mother loved them, including wives and kids, and so did I. I had scrapbooks filled with Kennedy clippings, pics from Life and Look magazine, anything I came across... Jackie, John-John, Caroline, Bobby... I was 7 when JFK was elected, and it was before the Beatles came along, so they, along with the Mercury astronauts, were my idealized heroes. I remember that day in 1963 like it was yesterday. Some things just get fused in your brain, they make deeper grooves and having more lasting impact than others. I was at school when we heard that the President had been shot. They wheeled one of those TVs on a tall rolling cart into the classroom, and after just a few minutes we were sent home. It was a shock that wouldn't wear off. For days we were glued to the television, watched Walter Cronkite tearfully report that the President was dead, watched Lee Harvey Oswald shot in the stomach, the swearing in of LBJ, there was the funeral march with the drums, Jackie in her black veil, John-John saluted his father's casket. I have never seen such dignity. It was all quite unimaginable and unthinkable. We cried until the tears were gone.

A few years later, conspiracy theories began to be formed and documented. My mother bought several books of this type: Six Seconds in Dallas, Rush to Judgment, The Witnesses, and more. A few years later I read these books and a stack more on the subject. Only one thing is really clear to me, that it was not the work of Lee Harvey Oswald, lone gunman. Alright, two things: that there has been so much evidence destroyed or lost, along with witnesses deceased that the whole truth will never be known. You have to decide if a partial-truth can be called a truth at all. The Warren Commission bases its conclusion on the magic bullet, the pristine bullet that supposedly hit both JFK and Connally, then exited their bodies with less of it missing than still remained in Connally.

The most intriguing and convincing theories to me are laid out in books by Col. L. Fletcher Prouty , Jim Garrison , Mark Lane, and "Coup D'Etat in America" by Weberman/Canfield. Forget Oliver Stone unless you're really familiar with this topic, there is enough bungled and confusing information out there for real without adding [another] deliberately embellished retelling... the same fundamentally, yet plot-twisted, embellished, edited and enhanced for the screen.

About 6 years ago, I visited Dealey Plaza. It was my first and last visit. I was amazed at how the area still looks very much the same as it did then. I walked all over the grounds, the Grassy Knoll, the picket fence, train tracks, the Texas School Book Depository. There is a museum and bookstore there now. The whole time I was in Dealey Plaza was spent crying hard. It still seems like yesterday, and walking that area was like being in a living nightmare. Since I've grown up (assuming I have grown up), the Kennedys have come to seem more like real people with real problems and fallibilities. It wasn't a storybook tale where there's a happily-ever-after. Yes, they are absolutely filthy rich and priveleged, and always were, but I've never been able to comprehend how people tolerated watching their husbands, fathers, and brothers killed over and over and over on television, having to relive the horror of that soooo many times for soooo many years. I doubt that I could survive all those things and keep my sanity. There are things that money and power will not buy.

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Blueberry said...

I just noticed something very weird. The "Today in History" link from Brainy History that I have on my sidebar lists the swearing-in of LBJ as an important event for November 22, but not the Kennedy assassination. Not sure what they're trying to spin, but ignoring an important piece of related history is ugly.

Neil Shakespeare said...

Touching post. It really is incredible what unending tragedy that family has suffered.