Wednesday, November 22, 2006

November 22, 1963

Forty-three years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. President Kennedy was riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza and had just passed the Texas School Book Depository when the shots began. Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, rode with President Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy in a Lincoln Continental limousine which had been modified with a jumpseat to accomodate the extra passengers. Governor Connally was also hit, but survived.

Just a short time after the President was declared dead, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the Dallas police in the Texas Theater. Oswald was later charged with the murder of Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, who'd been shot just a mile or so from Oswald's rooming house which was on the way to the theater. Witness testimony was conflicted from the start and none of the witnesses could pick Oswald out of a lineup, but Oswald was charged anyway. About four hours after being charged with Tippit's murder, Oswald was booked for murdering the President. The police had the case in the bag, so to speak. Oswald did it.


Sunday, November 24, 1963, Oswald was shot on live television while being moved to a car that was supposed to take him to the county jail (which, ironically, is located in Dealey Plaza). Oswald later died at Parkland Hospital without revealing his role in the traumatic events of that weekend.

To deter speculators, new President Lyndon Johnson got together a "blue ribbon" commission who would study the evidence and determine who was responsible for the assassination. This commission, called the "Warren Commission" because it was headed by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren, had such esteemed members as Representative (and future President) Gerald Ford, future Senator Arlen Specter, and Representative Hale Boggs, father of journalist Cokie Roberts. The Warren Commission finished its research and interviews and released its final report in September 1964. This report said that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated President Kennedy, shot John Connally, and murdered Officer Tippit.

In the years following, public interest has waxed and waned. Conspiracy theories, both plausible and wacky, have made their way to the public consciousness. Just a couple of years after the assassination, several European authors wrote books on the President's murder, saying it was clearly a conspiracy. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that President Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy, which contradicts the Warren Report. Oliver Stone's film JFK pushed the assassination to the forefront once again, and a poll taken shortly after the release of the film showed the majority of the respondents believed the assassination was a conspiracy.

If you travel to Dallas, you can visit the Sixth Floor Museum, which is located at the former Texas School Book Depository building. The museum takes up the entire sixth floor and has a walking tour, a timeline of the weekend, and a guestbook signed by the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev. The window from which Oswald supposedly fired on the President is not accessible because it's surrounded by a glass partition, but the museum has recreated the scene as best they can. It is well worth the price of admission to visit the museum.

Here are some great links:

The Sixth Floor Museum

John McAdams's Website

John Masland's "The Nook"

National Archives Research Pages

Wikipedia's page

And links on President Kennedy:

White House biography

John F. Kennedy Library Homepage

President Kennedy's Inaugural Address

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
cropped from a picture I took of the back of the picket fence on the Grassy Knoll, February 1996

1 comentarios:

Gracie said...

I remember the day vividly and will never forget the long weekend. Here's a piece of trivia:

In Kevin Costners speech from Bull Durham he says,

"I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."
Afew years later Costner went on to play DA Jim Garrison, in JFK, who believed there was an assassination conspiracy to kill JFK.


Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!


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