50 Years: That Day, JFK and Today

UnknownWhere were you fifty years ago today? If you were old enough to remember at all, then you undoubtedly remember where you were on Friday November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm central standard time.

I was at a desk, two from the rear, in the left most row, in Mrs. Hollingshead’s first grade class. Each kid had their own desk, and they were big, made out of solid wood and heavy. They had to be heavy, of course, because they were going to protect us when we ducked and covered from a Soviet nuclear strike. There were, as there were in most elementary school classrooms of the day, a large clock and a big speaker on the wall up above the teacher’s desk.

I can’t remember what subject we were working on, but the principal’s voice suddenly came over the loudspeaker. This alone meant there was something important up, because that only usually occurred for morning announcements at the start of the school day and for special occasions. The voice of Mr. Flake, the principal, was somber, halting and different; perhaps detached is the word. There was a prelude to the effect that this was a serious moment and that the teachers should make sure that all students were at their desks and that all, both young and old, were to pay attention.

There had occurred a tragic and shocking event that we all needed to know about. Our attention was required.

Then the hammer fell and our little world literally caved in.

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated. Shot and killed in Dallas Texas. Then without a moment’s pause, we were told that the nation was safe, Vice-President Johnson was in charge, the government was functioning and that we need not have any concerns about our own safety. We were not at war.

Twenty four some odd little hearts stopped, plus one from Mrs. Hollingshead. You could literally feel the life being sucked out of the room like air lost to a vacuum. Many of us began looking out the window, because no matter what Mr. Flake said, if our President was dead, we were at war and the warheads were coming. They had to be in the sky. They were going to be there.

Unlike the hokey color coded terror alerts, ginned up fear mongering of Bush/Cheney, Ashcroft and Ridge, and today the terroristic fearmongering of Keith Alexander, James Clapper, Mike Rogers and Dianne Feinstein, things were dead nuts serious at the height of the cold war. If President Kennedy had been killed, we were at war; the missiles were on their way. Had to be. Looking back, the school officials and teachers had to have been as devastated and afraid as we were, yet they were remarkable. They kept themselves in one piece, held us together, talked and comforted us into calm.

We had not been back in class from lunch break for long; it was still early afternoon in the west. Before the announcement was made, the decision by the school officials had been made to send us home. The busses would be lined up and ready to go in twenty minutes. Until then there would be a brief quiet period and then the teachers would talk to us and further calm the situation. Then off we would go to try to forge a path with our families, who would need us as much as we needed them.

Except for me and a handful of other kids. My mother was an educator and was not at home, so I and a few other similarly situated kids were kept at school until we could be picked up. Somehow it wasn’t right to be inside, so we all, along with another teacher, Mrs. Thomas, went outside and sat underneath a large palm tree in front of the school. We talked about how it could be that our President, our hero, our king, was dead. Maybe he wasn’t really dead, maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe Soviet troops were on their way; possibly tanks. This kind of excited me and the other boys; we perked up at this thought, tanks were cool. The Russians probably had awesome tanks. Each minute that passed made us feel a little better because there were no missiles in the sky. That was a good sign.

In about half an hour, maybe an hour, I don’t know any more, my mother drove up and off we went. My mother was also reassuring. It was good to be with her; mom saying it would all be alright meant a lot. Once home, we ate and sat dumbstruck and transfixed in front of the Curtis Mathes console television the rest of the afternoon and night. We watched Walter Cronkite on CBS and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC. These men were giants of news and journalism; to say that they don’t make them like that anymore is a understatement of untold proportion. Things slowly, but surely, stabilized; but it took awhile. A long while.

Well, that was my day fifty years ago. What was your day? Take a moment and reflect back and share with those of us that know the traumatic event, and help those who are younger to understand what the day was like. The palpable sorrow. The sinking, abiding fear. The comfort of teachers, friends and family. And what it means to you today, on this anniversary.

The last time I wrote this basic post, five years ago today, I ended with, inter alia, these words:

There may be another Kennedy like figure in our midst, Barack Obama. He stands to assume office in a similarly, albeit it from different factors, troubled time. The world roils and America’s existence hangs in the lurch; not from Soviet missiles, but our own selfishness, avarice and stupidity.

Well, that was hopelessly idealistic, and not yet tempered by knowledge of the real Obama that would govern, as opposed to the false “Hope and Change” guy who captured the imagination and dreams of liberals and well meaning people throughout the land. We sit in a different posture today.

There is still hope; but the real change, whether on authoritarian government, government surveillance, financial reform, liberal judicial philosophy, environmental protection, income inequality, and a host of other critical concerns still is yet to be seen.

On the fiftieth anniversary of one of our worst days, let there be hope for better ones ahead.

[Most all of this post was taken from a previous one I did five years ago. I cannot kick the vivid memories I have of November 22, 1963 as a child. It is still all I think of when I think of this day. It is that seared into who, and what I am. So, absent a few additions, it is set forth again herein]

62 replies
  1. Anonsters says:

    The Russians probably had awesome tanks.

    And thus the little pinko commie that is bmaz today was born.

    Kidding, kidding! Lovely post, for real.

  2. Anonsters says:

    I’m 31, so I wasn’t even a stirring in my parents’ loins in ’63 (my mom would’ve been, what, 9 and my dad 12). I was a military brat, but I don’t remember the fall of the Berlin Wall or anything like that. So the only reference point I have for traumatic national events is 9/11. I was a sophomore in college.

    How do the two days compare for you? What’s it like having two separate horrifying days? What’s the difference?

  3. bmaz says:

    @Anonsters: Hey now, I had already figured out that the “duck and cover” under your fucking plywood school desk was not probably a real solution, and had moved on to “what kind of Russkie tanks are coming?”

  4. What Constitution? says:

    I was in second grade in California and, being precocious and all that, I had done something that morning that caused Mrs. Brubaker, my 650 year old teacher, to sit my butt outside the classroom door in the hallway until I calmed down. There I was at 10:30 a.m. in California, when the youngish teacher from next door knocked on the door and called Mrs. Brubaker outside. They had a hushed conversation and both burst into tears and hugged each other right in front of me, and Mrs. Brubaker tried to compose herself to go back inside to where she had left a classroom full of kids. She saw me and invited me back in, too, and cried as she told the class that President Kennedy had just been shot. We all went to the cafeteria where we watched the morning unfold on the school’s TV set, I remember Walter Cronkite looking unnervingly upset, not the man we saw most nights at home. Nobody told us the country was safe and we weren’t at war, we had to wonder that by ourselves. I don’t think I have one single clear memory left from that year except for this one and the surreal funeral reporting. Not one.

    That and Billy Crystal’s line from “When Harry Met Sally” late in the 80s, commenting on the age of his most recent girlfriend with “I asked where she was when Kennedy was shot; she said ‘Ted Kennedy was shot?'” Can’t believe it’s been 50 years and it frankly pisses me off that I can remember things that happened 50 years ago, it makes me too old. At least I can also remember watching Sandy Koufax pitch 50 years ago, which means there were some good things that happened in 1963, too.

  5. Frank33 says:

    The Kennedy Assassination was a False Flag Op. On Nov. 22 1963, the CIA and the Mafia murdered John Kennedy. Kennedy did not wish to invade Cuba or invade Vietnam and he did not want WWIII. So the Intelligence Community murdered, him as they murdered so many others, Americans and anyone else who supports peace and freedom.

    Kennedy was the first victim of Operation Phoenix, the CIA Assassination Program. Then the CIA murdered Marlin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy. The CIA continues to murder to keep their power and wealth.

  6. ffein says:

    I was at my first day on a new job at age 20 — a small typesetting company with one shared telephone. I remember it all so clearly like it was yesterday. That’s the one start date I could always remember on my resume….end date, not so clear. Those were sure rough times with Bobby Kennedy not that long afterwards and Martin Luther King. I still get kind of choked up hearing the repeat of the news that’s being played this week about those days and those feelings take me by surprise.

  7. Frank33 says:

    This is how their 50th Year since the Assassination of John Kennedy by the secret Government, should be commemorated.

    The research presented will advance extensive, detailed evidence establishing that the assassination of JFK was a “national security event”, which involved crucial elements of the most powerful institutions in the American government, including the CIA, the Joint Chiefs, the FBI and the Secret Service, who conspired with the Mafia, anti-Castro Cubans and Texas oil men to remove JFK from office and replace his policies with those of Lyndon Baines Johnson…

    Even the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), itself a formal entity of the US government, rejected The Warren Report and concluded there had been a second gunman on the grassy knoll and that JFK was probably killed as the result of a conspiracy.

  8. Chetnolian says:

    One from the World outside. I was a student at Glasgow University in Scotland. In common with many of my friends I wasn’t quite as enamoured of Kennedy as the US was, becuase the longest day of my life had been just a little while previously when I thought that Kennedy and Kruschev were going to fry us all over Cuba and all we could do was watch.

    But all that changed whn I walked in to my University Hall of Residence and someone said “Kennedy’s been shot!”. The TV Room was just to the right of the hallway and with just about the whole of the international body of students in hall I spent the rest of the evening there as the story unfolded. The sheer chilling human tragedy of the thing got to all of us. And in the UK at the time we had a recently-introduced prime time satire show called “That Was The Week That Was” which all of us students were addicted to. That night there was not a joke, nothing but an extended heartfelt eulogy. No-one who watched it will ever forget it.

  9. TarheelDem says:

    In 1963, I was a senior at the same high school that Jim DeMint graduated from ten years later. Fritz Hollings, a Democrat, was Governor of South Carolina. The US Senators were Strom Thurmond, then a Democrat, and Olin D. Johnston, also a Democrat and probably the only pro-labor Senator from the South.

    Toward the end of 5th period, the class clown came back to Senior Algebra class from having to go to the principal’s office. “Kennedy’s been shot.” “C’mon Harvey. Ha, Ha. That’s a pretty sick joke.” “But it’s true.”

    At that point the principal announced in his usual somber tones, “The President has been shot.”

    Shortly thereafter, the bell rang and on to 6th period.

    Some time early in our next class, the principal again: “The President is dead.” And down the hall somewhere in other classes cheers and applause, a huge failure of the norms of Southern courtesy.

    The football game was not cancelled, and we in the marching band played “Rufffles and Flourishes” and “Hail to the Chief” for the only time likely in its history. There was a preacher present to deliver a eulogy and pray for the nation. That was the entire half time show. And yes, the football team lost.

    Thereafter I was with my family for the next four days watching Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC talk us through this “ordeal”. Except for the two hours at church on Sunday, which meant that we just missed the experience of seeing Lee Harvey Oswald murdered live and on camera by fifteen minutes.

    Anyone who watched the funeral likely does not forget the drums. For several hours, the same mournful cadence.

    That was when, for me, the world I grew up in had changed.

  10. bmaz says:

    @TarheelDem: Yeah, we were glued to the telly here too. All the pronouncements of the critical part Walter Cronkite played were not wrong. He is seared into the memory banks as THE coverage the nation watched.

    Also no joke is how primary it remains, even 50 years later. I can’t remember stuff from yesterday, but 11/22/63 is baked into permanent memory.

  11. GulfCoastPirate says:

    St. Patrick’s Elementary in Galveston. We had the same kind of desks and actually use to do drills in case of nuclear attack. The nun left the classroom, came back and said we were going to say a rosary. Everyone on their knees on those hardwood floors. When we were finished we were told. By that time we knew someone bad was going down since the adults were crying. I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

    Do you remember the people who use to come around to the grocery stores (or anywhere with a big enough parking lot) and show off their nuclear bomb shelters that they could bury in your back yard in case of attack? They would have a model in the parking lot of the grocer stores that you could go in and see how you would survive. The store they used to come to in Galveston is still there (although no longer a grocery store) and whenever the kids were growing up and we would ride down that street when we were in town I’d tell them that story. I think they got sick of hearing it.

    If anyone is ever in Houston make sure you go by the Space Center Houston which is the exhibition area outside the Johnson Space Center. The have (or used to have, I’m sure they still do) Kennedy’s speech at Rice when he announced we were going to send men to the moon and bring them back and do it within the next decade. Bone chilling. Now we can’t even figure out how to get people to a doctor without half the country going apeshit. What the fuck happened to us?

  12. Valley Girl says:

    Thanks for this, bmaz.

    I was in HS in Ca. In PE class when first rumors started circulating. Then went to next class (history?), and the announcement came in over the loudspeaker (one in every classroom)- It is confirmed that President Kennedy is dead. We were all sent home, pretty much in silent shock.

    There had been a “sleep over” party planned for weeks at the home of one of our gang of 12 or so. (Such events rotated from house to house, so that all parents had to endure misery of such.) Friday, day of assassination, and host parents went ahead with the “sleep over”, I suspect b/c they thought it would be a good thing for all of us to have each others’ company. We girls had our sleeping places/ sleeping bags scrunched together in the living room, and the TV was on all the time- all through the night, and well into the next day. And, we huddled, watching, and not sleeping much. And then Saturday morning, saw Oswald shot, real time. etc. etc. Those are my most vivid memories. Oh, and Cronkite. I’ll try to find a vid.

    edit- wrong about the days. Not Friday, but Saturday slumber party began. Oswald shot on Sunday.

  13. P J Evans says:

    Eighth grade in California, in a city where the biggest employer was (and still is) the US government.
    We were going to watch a film that morning, but the projector bulb burned out. One of the kids (lived three doors from me) was sent to the office for a new one, and came back with the news, heard via a kid who’d been sent to the office for something else entirely. We didn’t really believe it until the vice-principal came in and the teacher said, loud enough for us to hear, that we’d already heard.
    That day the cafeteria was very, very quiet.

  14. P J Evans says:

    bmaz, the best theory I’ve heard is that Oswald was trying to kill Connally, who’d been secretary of the Navy while he was in the Marines and having whatever problem it was. (He had a beef with Connally, IOW.) He did hit Connally, but it went through and came out tumbling.

  15. Valley Girl says:

    Also, as I recently learned via a listserve of small group of college friends- I had not realized the climate of hate in Dallas at the time. I quote one comment, which doesn’t explain it all, still…

    ~~xxx, my father had a part-time job at the Dallas News at that time (he was the book editor) so we were close readers of the paper. I remember discussion from the newsroom of some of the vitriolic mail that had come in and reports from reporters in the field, and some discussion of whether or not they should have accepted the black rimmed “Kennedy stay away” ad. I wouldn’t say the feeling was pervasive but it was loud enough to be noticed and make us worry about him, and it certainly was malignant and vitriolic.~~

  16. Snoopdido says:

    When it was your birthday in my family, you got to pick what Mom made us for dinner (spaghetti, Kraft Dinner, steak, meatloaf, etc. )and what kind of birthday cake she made for you (chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla with pineapple, etc.).

    My sister was a year younger than I and that November 22, 1963 was her eleventh birthday. I do remember where I was and what I was doing that day (recess at St. Lukes), but I remember nothing about my sister’s birthday that day. We must have somehow celebrated it with her choice of dinner and cake, but it couldn’t have been very happy for her.

    I know that Kennedy’s assassination on that day left a permanent scar in all of us, but I think my sister’s memory of that day was even more painful than mine and has remained that way every November 22nd since.

  17. Frank33 says:

    @Bay State Librul:
    The CIA murdering a President is a bunch of shit. But they murder many people such as Pat Tillman and David Kelly. And the Assassination sub-community of the Intelligence community may have murdered Michael Hastings.

    Where were you on Nov. 23, 1963, when the cover up began?

  18. Frank33 says:

    @P J Evans:
    Oh a Conspiracy Theory! Magic Words to stifle the things you do not want to hear. That makes it all different. I should obey, but I will not. You should know that most of history is conspiracies. The rich and powerful have always murdered their opponents. That is why they remain in power.

  19. dalepues says:

    Fifth grade, Miss Windham’s class. The principal came on the intercom (after a second or two of popping static) instructing all teachers to the cafeteria. We were left alone but well behaved as I recall. We knew something was very wrong so we didn’t budge. Miss Windham reappeared after a few minutes and told us that President Kennedy had been killed. Mary Kate behind me started crying. We too were all sent home. When Jack Ruby murdered Oswald, even we fifth graders knew something wasn’t right. That bitter suspicion feeling follows me to this day.

  20. Phil Perspective says:

    If anyone is ever in Houston make sure you go by the Space Center Houston which is the exhibition area outside the Johnson Space Center.

    I’ve been there and sadly don’t remember much of anything. :-(

  21. masaccio says:

    When the 1960 election was underway, all of us, except my Dad, switched and became good democrats. Daddy remained a Republican, but he hated Nixon, and the break with the rest of us was not a family problem.

    In 1963, I was a junior at St. Joseph’s High School. I think it was history class when the announcement came over the loudspeaker that the President had been shot. I remember thinking he would be OK: good Catholics, we bowed our heads and said a prayer. Then the loudspeaker came on again, and Brother Reginald announced that the President was dead. It was a punch in the stomach.

    I never worried about bombs or Russians, because no one really thought South Bend was a target for the Russians. I wasn’t worried about stability of the government, because it never dawned on me we wouldn’t go forward with LBJ. I remember the caisson vividly, and I remember the music, Barber’s Adagio for Strings. I remember thinking that Kennedy was killed because he was a liberal, not a Catholic. I thought the murders of Oswald and Ruby were incomprehensible. It took the murders of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King to show me that the world I thought I lived in was a fairy tale.

    Bmaz and others think questioning the Warren Commission makes you a conspiracy nutcase. I’m not so sure. We sure have followed the war plans of the snakes in the CIA and the Curtis LeMay wing of the military.

  22. Mary McCurnin says:

    I was in junior high. We were all called from class and assembled on the playground. Someone told us what had happened. The feeling was the same one that I had when Ron ran in the house and told me about 9-11. Fear and grief. I still believe we don’t know what really happened on either day.

  23. bmaz says:

    @masaccio: To be clear, I do not think questioning the Warren Commission’s specifics make one a conspiracy theorist. I do think wild eyed yammering about “false flags” and saying JFK was the initiation of the Phoenix Program, which then went on to murder MLK and RFK is all, well, a truck load too much for me.

  24. Peterr says:

    The first part of that last quote may have been hopelessly optimistic, but the second sounds accurate then and still accurate today:

    The world roils and America’s existence hangs in the lurch; not from Soviet missiles, but our own selfishness, avarice and stupidity.

    I was not yet one, but have been told by my mom that I saw much of this from my car seat placed on the living room floor in front of the TV, while she sat crying on the couch.

  25. ess emm says:

    @bmaz: Your 5-year old self gets a pass, but what really happened that day, bmaz?

    Marcy has been detailing a vast, secret conspiracy to take away the privacy of every person on earth. So is believing there was a plot to kill just one guy really a bunch of shit?

  26. Frank33 says:

    MLK, RFK, JFK, your comment sounds like an FBI memo. Transgender J Edgar Hoover had an extreme hatred for MLK and JFK and RFK. He/She was very racist. But let us say their names. John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

    They were American heroes murdered by a CABAL that still murders to remain in power. We could also list other assassinated Americans, especially the Black Panthers, such as Fred Hampton and Huey Newton, killed by the FBI. That list has not been fully compiled.

  27. RirerCapital says:

    Kennedy voted funds for and spoke in support of the HUAC Committee, was a warmonger, and very very rich. The idea he was not part of the establishment is amusing. He was most likely killed by hawks(FBI, CIA, DIA, along with Mob) who believed his failing health could hamper Cold War policies.

    So much hagiography over JFK and RFK, two billionaire racists(RFK approved Hoover’s surveillance of MLK, Jr. as AG under JFK)who never respected the civil rights of people while “serving” in Congress or the White House. Frankly, it’s nauseating.

    Sad to see “law and order” types fail to see irony of treasuring the legal system of the most lawbreaking government on Earth.

    Apres ca, nice piece.

  28. pdaly says:

    I recognize bmaz’s description of those heavy plywood desks and the principal’s announcements over the speaker that hung on the wall above the teacher’s desk. But I was not yet alive when Kennedy was shot.

    By the time I made it to first grade, Man had already landed on the moon.
    In fact, we watched the last Apollo mission on a black & white TV rolled into our public school classroom for the occasion. We had no appreciation for how unusual it was to land on the moon. For us, it was the end of something that was already a given. Of course men walk on the moon. (And Nixon was running things).

    So for me Kennedy was always a tragic story –his death a foregone conclusion with no sense on my part that events could have been different. It took a spaghetti dinner at my college’s Catholic Student Center freshman year to jolt me into the realization that Kennedy was once as alive as the rest of us. As I listened to the student president of the center welcome everyone, I eyed the collection of framed photos of past student presidents on the wall to my right.

    The photo about a foot from my face looked like a young version of JFK. Even the name below the photo was similar: “John Kennedy.” In fact, it WAS a photo of JFK! There was no special treatment to attract attention, his photo’s frame identical in every way to the next student’s frame.

    This self-discovery of a small biographical detail of JFK’s life, combined with meeting the version of him at the same stage in life I was in, made his death more poignant than any book entry. I finally ‘got it’ –viewing it from the other end of history. What could have been…

  29. GKJames says:

    The common feeling of disbelief extended even to Austria, where our grammar school class the next day tried to understand the previous evening’s report. Schools closed on the day of the funeral, for which we sat around the radio, amazed to be hearing something live from so far away, not to mention from the near-mythical “Amerika.”

  30. Stephen says:

    @emptywheel wrote: “Where were you fifty ago today? If you were old enough to remember at all, then you undoubtedly remember where you were on Friday November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm central standard time.”

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but with all due respect, Marcy, that sort of question sums up much that is wrong with America.

    It is one thing to broadcast a question like that one of yours on a local American TV or radio station or newspaper. By using this blog page to do so, however, you are broadcasting that question over the Internet to the entire world–yet the question is framed as if you were speaking to a solely American audience.. By doing so you are treating the Net as if were still the private demesne of the U.S. of A.

    Which, when you think about it, has pretty much been the attitude of such agencies as the NSA and of successive American administrations in extending the reach of their mass surveillance programs. They have treated the Internet as little more than an American fifth column which has been (conveniently) steadily penetrating ever deeper inside the borders of other, otherwise sovereign nations.

    (And something similar might also be said about the US reaction to the events of 9/11. Just as it was back in December 1941, hell hath no fury like a superpower which has just suffered a sneak attack by nefarious forces. When in the aftermath Bush declared (to non-Americans) that you were either “with” America or you were against it, he was essentially announcing that in its pursuit of those responsible for 9/11 the rights of non-Americans–to such things as sovereignty, local laws, freedom from torture and indefinite detention &c–would be subordinated to the goals of the US.In other words, America would be treating the rest of the world as a private hunting ground through which it could roam at will using rules of its own it had devised to suit its OWN purposes.)

    (BTW, for the record I was aged six back on that day in 1963; but unlike you back then I was–as far as I can now recall–barely aware that JFK even existed. But then I am not an American. JFK’s death might well be a seminal moment in American history, but America’s history does not necessarily mean much to those who live elsewhere, especially back then. We have histories of our own, much of which I suspect most Americans would, even now in our increasingly interconnected world, not have the slightest inkling of, much less any interest in.)

  31. bmaz says:

    @Stephen: First off, it was I, bmaz, that authored this post, not Marcy, so your beef is with me. And, if you didn’t guess, or read close enough to discern, I actually am an American, and those were my recollections from a day that everybody alive in this country at the time will never forget. Whether you cared for Kennedy’s politics or not, his assassination was a huge deal here, and a profound event. Frankly, it was neither my intent, nor desire, to describe what happened to people on the other side of the globe. If you have recollections, share them; if not, what exactly is the point of bitching about something you profess to not care about?

  32. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Phil Perspective: They have JFK’s speech at Rice calling for increased space exploration playing periodically in one of the movie rooms. OR they did.

    Of course, these days, you can also see it whenever you like on YouTube.

  33. P J Evans says:

    Millionaires, but not billionaires. They weren’t even the wealthiest people in the country. Beyond that, no proof either way. They’re long dead, and can’t speak for themselves.

  34. bloodypitchfork says:

    @Bay State Librul: @bmaz: quote:”@Bay State Librul: Yes, it really is.”unquote

    Your view supports a fellow FDL authors opinion…


    For those who think the CIA wasn’t involved, maybe you could provide evidence why Kennedy shouldn’t have been afraid of them..

    quote:”He also had this to say about Kennedy’s reaction to the Agency insurrection: “I suppose in the timeless fashion of manipulators such as Kennedy and his people, the decision was made to finesse the agency insurrection instead of confronting it head-on. Or maybe Kennedy was simply afraid they’d kill him if he tried.” It’s also worth adding that according to at least one source, Kennedy had commissioned another major enquiry into the CIA in the weeks preceding his murder on Elm Street.”


    In regards to where I was on that day..I was in a restaurant in Sacramento California when somebody yelled Kennedy had been shot. I was 19 at the time, and had already became an anti-war advocate as the whole Vietnam fiasco was already forming my opinions of my government. Then I saw Oswald shot on live TV. That was it for me. The fact that a person could get into the Police department building, with a gun, and able to get that close to the very person who was being accused of Kennedy’s murder, was simply beyond belief. I’ll never forget that moment. My view of the world and my government solidified into what I see today as a Intelligence community coup.

    My personal “belief”, especially now that we’ve seen the living proof of the NSA revelations, and after years of witnessing everything from Pentagon Papers to the Church Committee to the Iran-Contra to 9/11 to the WMD lies leading to the invasion of Iraq and now the CIA led drone abomination and King Obomber’s kill list…I believe the CIA killed Kennedy..period. After all..he was the ONLY person with the power to stop these psychopaths, and even then..he wasn’t sure he could.

    Add the fact the CIA has fought tooth and nail for 50 years to keep their records from being exposed and ask your self why.

  35. bmaz says:

    @bloodypitchfork: I have no idea what really happened, and who, if anybody, was with and/or behind Oswald. What I can say very easily is that Jim Garrison was a lunatic, and I had the “pleasure” of seeing him in law school.

  36. ess emm says:

    @bmaz: You have no idea what happened, yet you have no problem deriding Frank33’s “national security event” as a bunch of shit. Seems there’s a tension with having both views.

    And why the ad hominem attack on Kevin Costner?

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The hope for change comes from blogs like this one – and the action they inspire in others – rather than dependence on a deus ex machina figure like an over-marketed candidate Obama (as little like the real politician as twinkies are to real food). Thanks, bmaz.

  38. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The best line in the film, the Shooter, is Levon Helm’s. When asked how his character, a retired master marksman, knows the shooters on the grassy knoll were dead and buried in the desert three hours after the event, he replied, “Still got the shovel.”

    The Warren Commission’s goal was to confirm the prevailing public theory, that a lone gunman did it. It did a marvelous job.

  39. guest says:

    “The President is dead.” And down the hall somewhere in other classes cheers and applause, a huge failure of the norms of Southern courtesy. – ______________________
    Sorry, but that right there *is* the norm of Southern courtesy. Where do so many Southerners get this idea that they are so genteel and noble, and so much more so than the rest of us yankee riffraf? Obviously they get it from listening to each other. And I guess they have learned how to tune out the critical opinions of themselves. I suppose when you have learned to tune out the screams of lynching victims and suffering of slavery, it’s easy enough to start seeing yourselves as paragons of chivalry.

    PS to BMAZ, I think you mean “figuratively” when you say “literally”. I may have farted (not literaly) all over your touching essay, but I felt like Mrs Hollingsworth was calling from the grave to defend her teaching legacy on that one. I was exactly 6 months old on that day, so it was just another unremarkable day of nursing, poop and farts for me (or poop-whistle, as we genteelly called in at my house), so that memory is almost literally foggy.

  40. P J Evans says:

    A lot of them aren’t old enough to remember that day. They’ve heard about it, mostly in the media, and they might have seen Stone’s movie, but they don’t know anything they weren’t told.

  41. P J Evans says:

    Like I said, the best theory I heard is that Oswald was trying to get Connally. Doesn’t require a conspiracy, just a pissed-off Marine who was a little off on his aim. (Remember, Connally was sitting right in front of the President.)

  42. Stephen says:

    @bmaz wrote: “First off, it was I, bmaz, that authored this post, not Marcy”.

    My apologies for that.

    @bmaz: “If you have recollections, share them; if not, what exactly is the point of bitching about something you profess to not care about?”

    My point was not bitch about the Kennedy anniversary itself but the WAY you worded it. By which I mean that notwithstanding the international nature of the Internet (and therefore of the audience for websites such as this one) all-too-often Americans writing on blog pages treat those pages (and the Net those pages are on) as if:the ONLY people roaming the Internet (and therefore likely to visit their site and read their words) were OTHER Americans.

    Hence my objection to the second sentence of the opening paragraph of your original post, which ran:

    “If you were old enough to remember at all, then you undoubtedly remember where you were on Friday November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm central standard time. ”

    That sentence presumes that the reader is an American. Which is all very well if you expect your audience to BE composed solely of Americans. If however you have no such expectations then what you SHOULD have written was something more along the lines of: “If you were an American old enough to remember at all, then you undoubtedly remember where you were on Friday November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm central standard time.”

    Now normally I would not have voiced such concerns over such a matter, but given the stand this site has taken over the America’s mass surveillance and drone issues (amongst others) it was startling to find such imperial presumptions (of the Net as an Americans-only preserve) was startling to say the least.

    @bmaz: “Whether you cared for Kennedy’s politics or not, his assassination was a huge deal here, and a profound event.”

    I’m sure it was; and I have no problem with JFK. But you also need to understand that the Internet and the World Wide Web are NOT (at least any longer) an exclusively American communications tool, any more than the Caribbean Sea is an American lake or the American continents its exclusive preserve (meaning European and other imperial powers with ambitions to meddle should keep their distance; meddling in Affairs American was the exclusive province of the US).

  43. bmaz says:

    @Stephen: Yeah, sorry. It was an American event, that had profound implications globally. If others are not interested in the subject, frankly that is their right, but I won’t lose any sleep over it. The point was to allow for people to react; people have, including you. Seems like it was plenty inclusive.

  44. prober says:

    I was 7 years old living in Ashville, North Carolina. We heard that something had happened in Dallas, Tx. I don’t remember if the staff told us. Since it was between our last class of the day. they told us we were to go home and ask our parents what happened in Dallas. When I got home my Mon was crying. When any kid see’e his mother crying it shakes a guy up. She told me there’s nothing we could do, except was to say a
    Rosary prayer. Our President John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been killed by assassination. What my indelible memory was Oswald being shot by Ruby. My brother and i were waiting for Bullwinkle and secret flying Squirrel to come on. Our thinking was once they take Oswald to county jail we would get our cartoons, and if they ran their Sunday schedule after Bullwinkle we would WATCH “Roger Ramjet’, and if time permitted, Sky King. But nooo0, Ruby just stepped out of the press line people and pretended like he had a microphone and murdered Oswald who was surrounded by police. For crying out loud they were at the damn jail.As soon as Ruby Killed Oswald. My entire morning was fucked. Sunday TV in Ashville went off the air after the evening news at 7 pm
    No cartoons, No Lassie, no sky king. At that time TV went off the air at 8pm. I was to selfish to understand that our president was murdered. My interest in worlds affairs focused on Rocky And Bullwinkle, Boris and Natasha and saving Frostbite falls from their certain doom.

  45. what constitution? says:

    @prober: Thesis: People whose primary memories of the early Sixties prominently feature Rocky and Bullwinkle are some of the finest people alive today.

  46. JThomason says:

    Bmaz, what does Garrison being a loon have to do with the fact of a relationship of Oswald and Guy Bannister in New Orleans and the evidence that Oswald was not in Mexico City before the assassination but instead someone posing as Oswald was there?

    BTW, I was 5 watching TV with my mother and a lady from the other end of the block, seven or eight houses away, burst through our front door screaming “the President has been shot.”

  47. JThomason says:

    @bmaz: Wasn’t necessarily talking about the theory Garrison ultimately presented to tie his case against Shaw together but the evidentiary points his work unearthed concerning Oswald’s history.

  48. Susan says:

    My strongest memory was seeing Oswald shot, live on TV. Then I went to my mother and said ‘a man shot the man who shot President Kennedy’ and she said ‘no, that did not happen’ and I said ‘yes, it did’.

    My first live on-air American murder.

    We were sent home early that day (11-22-63) because it was St. Cecilia feast day, and we went to St. Cecilia School. We had a festival that day, and lots of singing. I remember walking past a woman who was crying openly on the street and when I got home, heard that Kennedy was shot. So, we said a rosary, turned the TV back on and heard he had died.

    The Warren Commission is a bunch of crap. Someone put Jack Ruby up to killing Oswald, for some reason, and was able to make him go through withit. And I suspect that Ruby’s death by cancer was planned too, just like JFK’s and MLK’s deaths.

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