Friday, December 14, 2012

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Significant, often traumatic, events mark our place in the historical timeline of life in this country.  We love to play the memory game, "I remember exactly where I was the day--Lennon or Elvis died, the spaceship Challenger exploded,  9/11(all day),  Bobby Kennedy/Martin Luther King was shot, and especially the assassination of JFK." 
JFK's death was a seismic event in the lives in this country.  My husband and I were high up in the Rockies in Vail, Colorado at a time when Vail had no radio or TV reception.  A car, passing by on the highway, stopped at the Inn where we were living and told us,  "President Kennedy has been shot!"  Nothing else was known at that moment but speculation and dread raced through the small town with unbelievable speed. 

Who? Why? How serious was this?  At that time it was the middle of the Cold War and very soon after the Cuban Missile Crisis so a huge amount of fear centered on the Russians and a possible attack.  It took only a few minutes for us to pack and drive the 100 miles necessary to get TV reception enough to follow the horrifying events of that weekend.

Last month, before I left the Ft. Worth and Dallas area,  I wanted to make one stop that I had missed all these many years--Dealey Plaza and the School Book Depository.

JFK and Jackie's first stop in Texas was Ft. Worth where the reception was huge.  
There was a time before bullet-proof windows were on the presidential limo, before all the barricades, before bullet-proof glass shields were part of the podiums,  before the secret service stood between the president and his admirers--but all innocence ended that day.

Ft. Worth recently dedicated this small plaza to the memory of that remarkable visit to their city.  JFK stayed his last night in the hotel to the left across the street from this little memorial.

 The plaza memorializes a warm and welcoming city embracing a young, energetic president and his lovely wife.

Yet, just a few short hours after this photo was taken there would be bloodstains on Jackie's suit and the president would be gone.  

Next stop was downtown Dallas.....

And the Schoolbook Depository.  There is a museum on the top floor with photos and videos that take one through the weekend--a step at a time.

Once again, no photos were allowed inside the museum but there wasn't much to see.  The spot that Lee Harvey Oswald stood was roped off and staged just as it had been that day.  Boxes were stacked high behind where Oswald  stood at those two windows on the far end of the top floor. If someone had walked into the room at that moment they would not have seen Oswald standing there with a rifle in his hand. The boxes would have shielded him.  I stood at the next window over and tried to imagine firing a rifle at rapid speed at a motor vehicle passing by six floors below.

Trees would have been in the way until the car reached the spot where those three people are standing.

There are two X's in the street--where two bullets found their mark.  And the Grassy Knoll is in the photo above showing the vantage point from the opposite direction.

"X" marks the spot where the first bullet struck.  Look directly below the lamppost in the center of the photo.
Was Oswald the only assassin?  I am amazed at his marksmanship if he was.  
And if so, what was his motive?  Surely he could surmise that he would be hunted down if not killed on the spot.  And If it was a political killing then why didn't he leave behind some statement or even hint of his extreme viewpoint?  Was he a radical Communist? Not that I can tell.  If he was crazy then why wasn't that obvious at a much earlier time?  And if he was a paid assassin then where, and from whom, was the money?
"On November 22, 1963, the building gained national notoriety when Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot and killed President John F. Kennedy from a sixth floor window as the presidential motorcade passed the site."--Even the Historical Marker people are skeptical.

Am I a 'Conspiracy Theorist'?  I wasn't until I walked through the Depository and saw all the displays purporting to show Oswald as the only gunman.  Now I have questions without answers. I don't intend to start reading any of the hundreds of books on the subject because I don't think there will ever be a definitive answer to 'Who killed JFK?"
But I will never forget where I was on the day I heard the report, "The President's been shot!"


  1. Great photos and always good information to go with them....keep sailing....dean

    1. Thanks, Dean. BTW, I love the pictures of the cake and pie. Amanda must be a great cook....Toni