Nov
22

Thoughts on the Kennedy Assassination 50 years later

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dealey plazaI finally got to see it.  Last month I took the picture at the left of Dealey Plaza, the site of the Kennedy assassination 50 years ago today.  Though I was only seven years old when JFK was killed, I have had a fascination with the event over the years.  I remember staying up late on a school night in 1975, as a college freshman, to watch the first public showing of the famous Zapruder film on Geraldo Riveria’s late night ABC show.  “Surely there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy!” I thought at the time as the Zapruder film showed the fatal head shot appearing to come from the front, and not from the Texas School Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald was perched on the 6th floor.  In the 90’s I read a number of books about the assassination, and even gave a speech giving details of various conspiracy theories to my Toastmaster club.

In 2000 I did a 180 degree turn – changing my opinion to believe Lee Harvey Oswald did act alone to kill JFK.  Arguments by former Charles Manson prosecuter Vincent Bugliosi, and by author Gerald Posner, who both wrote books filled with evidence pointing to Oswald as the lone killer, were very convincing. Standing at Dealey Plaza on a cool Saturday morning last month showed me that Oswald could have easily fired the shots.  The whole area is smaller when you see it in person than it appears on film.  Two “x’s” still mark the pavement noting the location of the presidential limo when Kennedy was hit.  I could only imagine the horror of the bystanders that day as they witnessed the shooting first hand – the limo was only a few feet away.

I haven’t thought much about the Kennedy assassination in recent years, but the 50 year anniversary of the tragedy this week has renewed my interest.  I have watched various documentaries in the past week from different viewpoints, ranging from a theory that a Secret Service agent accidentally fired the fatal shot, to the anti-conspiracy shows again showing Oswald was the lone gunman.  My current opinion is that Oswald was definitely involved and fired shots, but that there was more to the assassination than that.  Could Oswald’s ties to some questionable characters point to a conspiracy?  Perhaps.

Today I think it is time to put all the speculation about the Kennedy assassination behind us.  We’ll never know the full truth.  Instead I prefer to focus on what an inspiration JFK was to the country.  Yes, he had his flaws (don’t we all), but he had an amazing ability to inspire audiences with his speeches.  One of the best JFK documentaries I’ve seen in the past week focused on his final hours in Texas.  In interviews with people he met on his Texas trip I got a better picture of Kennedy the person, and his charismatic wife Jackie, and the effect they had on people.  I prefer to see footage of JFK’s memorable speeches rather than endless replays of the fatal assassination head shot.  In watching those speeches John F Kennedy is still an inspiration to us today, 50 years after his death.

Categories : travel

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