This Friday, November 22, we will be remembering the death of one of the most enigmatic, and yet iconic, Presidents of the 20th Century, if not our history. Since last week, we have seen a flurry of stories on TV, in the newspapers and even commemorative issues of magazines, reflecting on the life, and death, of John F Kennedy, our 35th President.
Since his death, we have learned that he was not a god, but rather a human being like the rest of us, with failings in personal behavior and errors in judgement. As another great human once said, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” Please. Enough of the salaciousness.
For this 62 year old man, I look at the Kennedy presidency with a fond nostalgia through the eyes of a twelve year old kid, wishing always for that day gone by, before we lost our innocence. On October 12, I wrote a commentary called “The American Tragedy”, where I outlined the “would-have-beens” had JFK not died, and instead, served a second term.
Certainly, had he lived, so much of what has happened in the last 50 years probably either would not have happened at all, or short of that, would have happened differently. For the full list of probabilities, please read that commentary.
Over the last 50 years, we have listened to the many conspiracy theories which are at odds with the official Warren Commission findings. I will tell you that in 1964, we still accepted anything the government told us because there was a now-lost faith in the integrity of government officials. Today, of course, we look at everything our leaders say with a discerning viewpoint. And with good reason.
I have read the Warren report and honestly, I don’t believe Oswald did it by himself. As good a shot as he was believed to be, there is no way he was able to get three shots off that fast with such a simple rifle. Perhaps, if it were a semi-automatic, it may have been possible. But it required great speed and accuracy to be that exact.
He certainly could have been a player in the plot, hired by any group who had a grudge to settle with Kennedy. But I firmly believe he did not act alone. And Jack Ruby? Well, the first rule of assassination is to kill the assassin. And the snitch.
All of this, and more, will be reviewed, skewed and tattooed this week, as commemorative stories are told over and over again. But there is one fact that remains: Kennedy died well before he should have and America is worse for it.
Because of his death, the Country and the World changed forever on November 22, 1963.