11/22/63: End of Innocence

November 22, 2013

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Fifty years ago today President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was gunned down on the streets of Dallas, Texas. He and his wife Jackie rode in a open-topped Lincoln. Spirits soared as the crowds cheered the young president and his beautiful wife as the presidential motorcade moved through the streets of the city. The morning of November 22, 1963 started out overcast and rainy, but when they arrived in Dallas the sun came out and it was a bright, sunny day.

Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected president at age 43. He exuded energy, hope and new ideas. In October 1962 he saved the world from nuclear holocoust by defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was the first president to speak publicly on the issue of civil rights, and in fact gave a televised speech on the subject, something no American president dared do to that point.

The Cold War between the two superpowers, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, dominated the world in 1963. Both countries had enough nuclear warheads and missiles to destroy mankind several times over. After the crisis of 1962 Kennedy and the Soviets had made progress to begin to reduce tensions. The first treaty of any kind related to nuclear weapons, The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty abolishing atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, was signed by Kennedy and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. There was hope.

Then the Lincoln entered Dealey Plaza and shots rang out. The president was mortally wounded. Hope died. The world went into shock.

The weekend was spent entranced by television images, the assassination, the capture of a suspect, the body lying in state in Washington, the murder of the suspect, the funeral, and the burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Especially poignant were the images of Jackie and Caroline kneeling at his casket in the Capitol saying their goodbyes, his young son John saluting his father’s casket as it rolled by, and the lighting of the eternal flame at his grave. Even now these images tear at my heart.

It all seemed so surreal. It was unbelievable back then and still is today 50 years later. John Kennedy was only 46 years of age. He had been President of the United States and leader of the Free World for just over a thousand days.

As of today over 150 million people have visited his gravesite in Arlington. Most I am sure like me reflecting on the what-ifs.

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The eternal flame on President Kennedy’s grave in Arlington.


Kennedy Sworn in as President – 50 yrs Ago Today

January 20, 2011

President Kennedy - official White House photo

 Fifty years ago today John Fitzgerald Kennedy took the oath of office at exactly 12:00 p.m. Eastern time in Washington, DC.

Kennedy’s inauguration signaled a new generation ascending to power. His predecessor, President Eisenhower was of a previous generation and had served 8 years, since 1954-1961.

Kennedy, or JFK as he was affectionally known, was the youngest man ever elected president at age 43. Teddy Roosevelt was younger when he became president, but he became president after McKinley’s assassination.

Kennedy was also the first person of the Roman Catholic faith to be elected to the office.

The other fascination for people was his young family and his war service. He exuded personality and vigor. New ideas and renewed energy brought hope to young people.

When he was elected it was the height of the Cold War. The United States and the USSR had enough nuclear tipped missiles targeted at each other to destroy the world several times over. This wasn’t just an American or a Soviet issue, but a world living in the shadow of destruction. In fact the official policy of both nations was Mutually Assured Destruction or M.A.D. for short. Simply put if one country attacked the other it was assured both would be destroyed. Sounds crazy, but it was a fact that all of us lived with during that period. No wonder people were looking for new ideas and fresh hope.

Although his presidency was short-lived Kennedy began the dialogue with the Soviet Union on disarmament signing the Test Ban Treaty. This was a first step towards reducing nuclear arsenals.

I remember President Kennedy today for those steps he initiated towards reduction of nuclear tensions.


eBook Published – Near Miss: Attempted Assassination of JFK

January 2, 2011

My book has now been ePublished  and so far is available at the following sites.

Check it out, http://tinyurl.com/2432nrz Amazon, and http://tinyurl.com/24jlqrc Barnes and Noble.

If this interests you please consider purchasing it at the low price stated.

It will soon be available at Borders.com and Kobobooks.com


“The Kennedy Detail” – Inaccuracy perpetuated

November 23, 2010

I purchased this book and read it recently hoping to get the inside on the protective agents. What a disappointment. This book in which the Secret Service agents assigned to the “Kennedy detail” speak for the first time simply covers-up and perpetuates inaccuracies of the past. Here are examples using excerpts from the book,

“By the time the motorcade reached the stretch of roadway where the assassination occurred, however, agents could no longer ride on the fenders, Blaine says.”We were going into a freeway, and that’s where you take the speeds up to 60 and 70 miles an hour. So we would not have had any agents there anyway,” he said.”
 
Facts- The motorcade was traveling 10-11 mph in Dealey Plaza. There should have been agents on the car. In fact the car had come to almost a complete stop by the time of the fatal head shot (likely the fourth or fifth shot).
“There’s no question in my mind he (Oswald) was the assassin,” Hill says. “I was there. I know what happened.”
 
Fact – Clint Hill and the motorcycle patrolman to the left rear of Kennedy were both splattered with blood and brain tissue from the head shot that came from the front of Kennedy. Scientific evidence done by a noted physicist, G. Paul Chambers in his book, “Head Shot” published in 2010, proves conclusively the kill shot to the head came from the Grassy Knoll to the right front of Kennedy. Respectfully Mr. Hill you were there, but as a participant you don’t know the whole truth of what occurred, so why state so emphatically you do.
The book does admit the Secret Service did not take the threats against Kennedy seriously, and that tall buildings along the motorcade route were not monitored or screened.
These agents also confirm that there were not any Secret Service agents on the ground in Dealey Plaza that day. The question then arises, Who were the men who produced Secret Service ID when stopped and questioned on the Grassy Knoll after the assassination by police and witnesses? The police allowed them to leave when they produced this false ID.
My impression of the book is this, it is an interesting collection of memories of working in Kennedy’s protective detail during his presidency. The agents still have not come clean about the drinking parties the night before the assassination, and the failure to follow proper procedure during the motorcade. Documents show Kennedy did not order the agents to stay off his car and drop back from their proper locations.
The Secret Service has a systemic problem – they refuse to believe a president has ever or could ever be killed by a conspiracy. They hang on to the lone nut scenario. Until this attitude is cleansed from the organization, this is likely to happen again.

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