Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The Legend and Legacy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
My Dear America:
It is December now and the Tributes to our late President John F. Kennedy have become fewer and less visible. Although I think that the 50 year Tributes to the late President certainly got out of hand as November 22nd, 2013 approached and finally arrived, I really didn't have a problem with all of the celebrations of the life and death of JFK. To be honest I have gotten very annoyed over the years as November 22nd has continued to come and go every year with less and less attention given to JFK's Assassination. I didn't think that it was right for that to happen so the incredible hoopla, Magazine, Television and Newspaper stories that surrounded this year's 50 year Anniversary of the President's Murder was really OK with me.
I was 18 years old back in 1963 on that fateful day when I first learned the terrible news. I was walking down a hall between classes when I passed in front of the King's College bookstore in Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania. I looked into the bookstore and saw a very odd sight. Quite a few students were in the bookstore looking silent and packed in like sardines. I popped my head inside the main entrance to the bookstore and asked what was going on. What sounded like one voice but was actually several voices answered
"The President's been shot."
I pushed my way inside the bookstore to find a spot and began to listen to the radio which was being piped into the bookstore via the College's loudspeaker system. It wasn't long before a solemn and terrifying voice came over the loudspeaker system.
"The President is dead," said the voice
In a rather orderly manner all of us who had been inside the bookstore filed out into the hall. I don't remember much about what had happened after that except for the fact that I wrote a song about JFK sometime that weekend and watched on television what I think had been the first live televised murder in the history of the country when Jack Ruby shot Oswald.
As I think back on it now, I realize just how much of an impact Kennedy had on my life. In my house and with my Catholic family he was close to a God, His picture on the wall of our dining room was even bigger than that of Jesus. I followed the Presidential campaign closely and watched the first televised debates between JFK and Richard Nixon. In my mind Kennedy won those debates handily and certainly looked great compared to Nixon.
Back in those days I had never seen a color television and watched JFK on black and white television. I was stunned when I was able to watch JFK give a great speech in downtown Wilkes Barre as I somehow had managed to weasel my way onto the roof of a building looking down on Center Square where I could look down and see him. my view of him from that rooftop was a great one. I could see his handsome tan and was really surprised by how really red his hair was. I still can't recall ever seeing anyone as handsome as this Boston Irishman either before or since I saw him from my rooftop perch.
Kennedy clearly had problems controlling himself when it came to women we learned later on after he had gone. Clearly he was too handsome for his own good.
I was as proud as could be when I got my chance to vote in my first Presidential Election in 1960. Naturally I voted for Kennedy. There was never any question in my mind about who was going to get my vote. I was, in fact, very proud that I was able to vote for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
On those few occasions when I was able to catch his press conferences I found them to be incredibly entertaining. He never seemed to be stumped or caught off guard with any question and seemed to be able to add humor to the proceedings in every case.
As I think back on my working life, which was spent, in addition to writing, as a Counselor, Social Worker and Family Therapist I realize that Kennedy's call to "Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country" was something that I have taken seriously for my entire life. Thank you, Jack Kennedy, for pointing me in the right direction.
I have read many books about President Kennedy and about the Kennedy Assassination. Many of those books question the conclusion of the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Certainly it is possible that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone but there is also considerable evidence available to anyone willing to look for it that Oswald was, indeed, a "Patsy" who may have been a willing conspirator in Kennedy's death but in the end was betrayed and used by others to accomplish the grisly task of killing President Kennedy.
I have recently published a Novel,"The Man on The Grassy Knoll: The Assassins" which is Book One in a Fictional Series. This book explores some of the theories I have regarding the Kennedy Assassination and is available through Amazon.com.
While so called experts still occasionally come to the conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone the more I have found out about the Assassination, the less likely that seems, at least in my judgement anyway. I invite anyone willing to explore my theories about the Assassination to read my book and any other books or articles you might find on the subject.
The Kennedy Assassination was a wake up call to those young people like myself back in the sixties who thought that they had it all figured out and that hope would spring eternal in America and the world. I still have a great deal of hope for our country and our society but the Kennedy Assassination, Vietnam and Watergate were indicators that we were also in for dark days, as well in America's future.
As we watch Republicans attempt to stifle and possibly destroy our government it would be wise for all Americans to recognize that Freedom isn't always Free and that just as the Soviet Union fell, it would be just as possible for Democracy to fail in America if we don't learn some hard lessons from our nation's history.