Will we ever know the real truth behind the JFK assassination?
Over 50 years ago, America suffered one of the worst tragedies this country has ever dealt with; the assassination of a President. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was gunned down at 12:30 p.m. while riding in an open limousine through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, this was not the first time a man holding the highest office of American government would lose his life because of a sheer act of hatred.
There was Abraham Lincoln shot dead by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th, 1865. Sixteen years later on September 19, 1881, Charles Julius Guiteau assassinated James A. Garfield. Twenty years after that, President William McKinley died from complications after being shot twice by Leon Czolgosz. And lastly, there was JFK.
For children of the 70s, 80s, and even the early 90s, it’s hard for us to understand the pain that this country went through on that morbid day in 1963. The closest us 20-30-year-olds can come to is September 11th. These are two entirely different scenarios, but both gripped the world equally, forever changing it.
My father still vividly tells me how he was a 14-year-old freshman at New Utrecht High in Brooklyn, New York when the school principal entered his classroom, sobbing with the news of the fallen president. Soon the black and white box TV that usually sat in the corner of the room was turned on to Walter Cronkite's telling of what had just transpired. School's were cancelled for the rest of that day as a nation struggled to cope with the reality of the situation.
And now, looking back over 50 years ago, my father knew right then and there that his childhood, and all that belonged to it, would never be the same. To put it into perspective for my generation, this is how we will forever feel about the events of 9/11. Our innocence was taken away, never to return.
When you bring up those three haunting initials, J.F.K., a myriad of thoughts from people of all walks of life spring to fruition. For folks that lived through the assassination, it’s one of patriotic pride; how his supporters believed JFK was a take-charge President who backed up his bravado with poise and conviction, ie. The Cuban Missile Crisis, his unabashed belief in civil rights, ambitious domestic policy, and dedication to the space program.
As for the children of “Baby Boomers” and the like, talk of conspiracy theories and government cover-ups are usually a topic of debate and intrigue. To me, it’s amazing how one man could create such and heir of intrigue and mystery in only 1,000 days in office. To understand this you must look at some of the wildest theories of the assassination and how each “could” in actuality have occurred.
Such theories include:
The Driver Did It. Hard to believe no one saw the man sitting directly to the front-left of the President pull a gun out and fire at him in broad day light. Unless you feel the Zapruder film gives evidence to a shiny reflection glaring from the front of the vehicle just after shots are fired.
Umbrella Man. Could someone really shoot poisonous darts out of an umbrella, fatally hitting the President in the neck? More explainable would be the fact of someone with said umbrella letting his mark know his shot was indeed on target by opening and closing the contraption.
Friendly Fire. Could JFK have been shot in the head by his own Secret Service Agent, George Hickey? Perhaps after the first shot was fired via the assassin, JFK was simply in the line of his own man’s aim.
The Government. Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to become the 36th President of the United States. This wasn’t news then, it isn’t now. Perhaps Johnson didn’t want to wait anymore, as he was reportedly going to be taken off the ticket as VP for JFK’s re-election in 1964. Another coincidence is Johnson’s home state of Texas as setting for the act. He boastfully favored the conflict in Vietnam while JFK believed there was no way the US could ever make a positive impact. JFK strongly considered pulling out of Vietnam altogether after the ’64 election, even signing the NASM, which meant bringing home 1,000 troops. After assuming office, Johnson soon reversed Kennedy's decision and reaffirmed the policy of assistance to the South Vietnamese.
Badge Man/3 Tramps. Could a Dallas Police Officer have shot the President from the “Grassy Knoll” and then escaped into the sewer system? Was it one of the 3 Tramps, all of whom didn’t look tramp-like at all, (did you know one of the men was Woody Harrelson’s father) yet were all convicted criminals just coincidentally meandering around at this specific location, at the precise time of the incident.
The Mafia. Never cross Frank Sinatra, or more importantly Sam Giancana. These men “lent a helping hand” to get the Kennedy political machine rolling. And when it came time to pay the piper, Bobby and John did not do what was promised, much to their father’s disapproval. This all coincides with the Storm Drain Theory.
Whatever you believe truly happened over 50 years ago, one thing is for certain; a man of great historical importance was murdered. Will we ever know the truth? Maybe we already do. Or maybe this is just one of those times when each person forever affected from the terrible day will draw their own conclusions to appease their own beliefs and feelings. Sometimes, that’s simply OK to get by.