By Jeffery A. Taylor
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.
Career Before the Presidency
Kennedy worked for a time as a journalist before running for the House of Representatives. He won and was reelected twice. He showed himself to be an independent thinker, not always following party line. He was then elected Senator (1953-61). Again, he did not always follow the Democratic majority. Critics were upset that he would not stand up to Senator Joe McCarthy. He also authored Profiles in Courage which won a Pulitzer Prize although there was some question about its true authorship.
Election of 1960
On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected president in one of the closest elections in U.S. history. In the popular vote, his margin over Nixon was 118,550 out of a total of nearly 69 million votes cast. His success in many urban and industrial states gave him a clear majority of 303 to 219 in the electoral vote. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the youngest man ever elected president, the only Catholic, and the first president born in the twentieth century.
Kennedy becomes President
At the inauguration on January 20, 1960, the first U.S. president born in the twentieth century was sworn into office. Kennedy’s inaugural address included the challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Kennedy The Family Man
Jack and Jackie had three children together. Caroline Bouvier Kennedy was born on November 27, 1957, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was born on November 25, 1960, and their last child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, was born on August 7, 1963. Patrick was born five weeks premature at the Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. His small frame weighed only four pounds, ten ounces. As was common for premature babies, Patrick was born with respiratory distress syndrome. His condition was untreatable, and he died on August 9, 1963.
The White House Years
Bay of Pigs
In his short time in office, Kennedy faced many crises. The first of which involved Cuba, a country about ninety miles south of Florida. On April 17, 1961, fourteen hundred Cuban exiles, supported by the United States, invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. On April 18 the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) sent a note to Kennedy stating that his government would help the Cuban government resist an attack. By April 20 the invasion had failed. Although the plan for training Cuban exiles had actually begun during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), Kennedy took responsibility for it. He had first supported the plan but later refused to commit the necessary American troops. He was aware that if the Cuban people did not rise up and back the invaders, the United States could not force them to accept a new system of government. Although the Bay of Pigs invasion was a failure, it did prove Kennedy’s ability to face a disaster.
Protecting civil rights
Kennedy continued to show skill and passion for issues at home, particularly civil rights. In 1961 the Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group, organized people to protest segregation, or the practice of separating people based solely on their race, on buses and trains. When the showdown came, “the Kennedys,” as the president and his brother Robert, the attorney general, were known, sent six hundred Federal marshals to Alabama to protect these “Freedom Riders.” In 1962 they sent hundreds of Federal marshals to protect the rights of the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi.
Cuban missile crisis
On October 22, 1962, Kennedy announced to the nation that the Soviet Union had sent nuclear missiles to Cuba. In response the United States had blocked all shipments of military equipment into Cuba. The United States would not allow Cuba to become a Soviet missile base, and it would regard any missile launched from Cuba “as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full [military] response.”
For a week the details of the situation had been “the best kept secret in government history.” Throughout the seven days, the Kennedy administration had maintained an outward appearance of normal social and political activity. Meanwhile, American military units throughout the world were alerted.
Messages were sent back and forth between Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Pope John XXIII (1881–1963), who was volunteering as a peacemaker. During this time Soviet ships were moving toward the area of the blockade in the Atlantic Ocean. They slowed, then stopped. On October 28, 1962, the Soviet Union said it would remove its missiles from Cuba.
One result of the crisis was the nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union, which Kennedy called “the first step down the path of peace.” The treaty was signed on July 25, 1963. A “hot line” for emergency messages was also set up between Washington, D.C., and Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union.
Landing a man on the moon
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. A number of political factors affected Kennedy’s decision and the timing of it. In general, Kennedy felt great pressure to have the United States “catch up to and overtake” the Soviet Union in the “space race.” Four years after the Sputnik shock of 1957, the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had become the first human in space on April 12, 1961, greatly embarrassing the U.S. While Alan Shepard became the first American in space on May 5, he only flew on a short suborbital flight instead of orbiting the Earth, as Gagarin had done. In addition, the Bay of Pigs fiasco in mid-April put unquantifiable pressure on Kennedy. He wanted to announce a program that the U.S. had a strong chance at achieving before the Soviet Union. After consulting with Vice President Johnson, NASA Administrator James Webb, and other officials, he concluded that landing an American on the Moon would be a very challenging technological feat, but an area of space exploration in which the U.S. actually had a potential lead. Thus the cold war is the primary contextual lens through which many historians now view Kennedy’s speech.
November 21st, 1963; President Kennedy in San Antonio – Texas
November 22nd, 1963 – That Day at Dealey
On November 22, after a breakfast speech in Fort Worth, where Kennedy had stayed overnight after arriving from San Antonio, Houston and Washington, D.C. the previous day, the president boarded Air Force One, which departed at 11:10 and arrived at Love Field 15 minutes later. At about 11:40, the presidential motorcade left Love Field for the trip through Dallas, which was running on a schedule about 10 minutes longer than the planned 45 minutes, due to enthusiastic crowds and an unplanned stop directed by the president. By the time the motorcade reached Dealey Plaza, however, they were only 5 minutes away from their planned destination.
Reduction of security – Agents off the rear of limo?
The frequently repeated story that JFK ordered a reduction in the presence of motorcycle outriders in the Dallas motorcade is in need of correction. Although presidential motorcades on all prior stops on the November, 1963 Texas trip normally included anywhere from three to six cyclists on each side of the JFK limousine (a fact confirmed by numerous press and official White House films and photographs), the plans for Dallas were altered by Secret Service officials to give JFK just four non-flanking outriders.
Thus the presidential limousine was opened to crossfire, and the perceptions of professionally trained eye- and ear-witnesses were eliminated from the scene of the crime. Former agents Kinney and Godfrey confirmed that JFK never gave direct or implicit instructions to remove motorcycles from security positions adjacent to his car. Further, films and photographs of prior Texas trip stops clearly show a heavy motorcycle outrider presence during motorcades, up to and including the Fort Worth motorcade of November 21, 1963.
The origin of the order to strip presidential security by reducing motorcycle-based security remains mysterious, and carries sinister implications.
12:30 pm – Route through Dealey – Unplanned?
At 12:29 p.m. CST, as Kennedy’s uncovered limousine entered Dealey Plaza, Nellie Connally, then the First Lady of Texas, turned around to Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you,” which President Kennedy acknowledged.
From Houston Street, the presidential limousine made the planned left turn to put it on Elm Street to allow it to pass to the Stemmons Freeway exit.
As it turned on Elm, the motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository. As it continued down Elm Street, shots were fired at Kennedy; a clear majority of witnesses recalled hearing three shots. A minority of the witnesses did recognize the first gunshot blast they heard as a weapon blast, but there was hardly any reaction from a majority in the crowd or riding in the motorcade itself to the first shot, with many later saying they heard what they first thought to be a firecracker or the exhaust backfire of a vehicle just after the president started waving.
When the president first emerges from being temporarily behind the Stemmons Freeway sign his mouth is widely open in a shocked expression and his hands clench into fists, then he quickly raises his arms dramatically in front of his face and throat as he turned leftwards towards his wife. Secret Service Agent Clint Hill testified that he heard one shot, then jumped off the running board of the Secret Service follow-up car directly behind Kennedy (Hill was filmed jumping off his follow-up car at the equivalent about a quarter of a second before the president’s head exploded. Hill then rapidly ran towards the Presidential limo and then a shot hit Kennedy in the head, opening up the right side of his head. As the limousine began speeding up, Mrs. Kennedy was heard to scream and she climbed out of the back seat onto the rear of the limo. At the same time, Hill managed to climb aboard and hang onto the suddenly accelerating limo, and Mrs. Kennedy returned to the back seat. Hill then shielded her and the President. Both of the Connallys stated they heard Mrs. Kennedy say, “I have his brains in my hand!” The limo driver and police motorcycles turned on their sirens and raced at full speed to Parkland Hospital, passing their intended destination of the Dallas Trade Mart along the way, and arriving at about 12:38 pm.
During the shots a witness, James Tague, was also wounded when he received a minor facial wound on his right cheek. The Main Street south curb he had been standing 23.5 feet away from was struck by a bullet or bullet fragment that had no copper sheath, and the richocheting bullet fragment struck Tague. Head top was located 271 feet away from and 16.4 feet below President Kennedy’s head top. The bullet or bullet fragment that struck the cement curb was never found.
Death of a President
At 1:00 pm CST, after all the activity had ceased, and after the priest administered the last rites, President Kennedy was pronounced dead. Personnel at Parkland Hospital Trauma Room #1, who treated the President, observed that the president’s condition was “moribund”,meaning he had no chance of survival upon arrival at the hospital. “We never had any hope of saving his life,” Dr. Perry said. “I am absolutely sure he never knew what hit him,” said Dr. Tom Shires, Parkland’s chief of surgery. The Very Reverend Oscar L. Huber, the priest who administered the last rites to the president, told The New York Times that the president was already dead upon the priest’s arrival at the hospital and had to draw back a sheet covering the President’s face so that the last rites could be given.Governor Connally, meanwhile, was soon taken to emergency surgery where he underwent two operations that day.
An Assassins point of view – The Parlor game, my personal view
After 45 years it has been argued by many committees and private investigations that the true account of November 22nd, 1963 was inaccurate at best. Even the Warren Commission stipulate that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone as the “lone shooter”, disputed by many because of the angle of head wounds to President Kennedy. Even the FBI did several tests of a professional sharp shooter using the same rifle as Oswald, none of them could get off three shots with precision accuracy .
There were also many speculations about the “grassy Knoll” area, where many say they say puffs of smoke. This does hold true based on the trajectory of shots that hit bystanders and even John Connally.
But even demonstrations made on the knoll, didn’t result in John F. Kennedy’s final head wound, which incidentally, the President is buried without his brain. This would be imperative should the Presidents body ever be exhumed for a future autopsy, the “planners “were very careful to make sure that no evidence of foul play was ever to be known.
None of these theories have held up after so many years, “The Single Bullet” theory would have you believe that one single bullet made all of the fatal wounds to both Kennedy and Connally and be found on a stretcher in pristine condition. This was the final conclusion of the Warren Commission report, incidentally, many of the Warren Commission members were former Kennedy administration members who were fired by JFK, coincidence?
JFK had many issues with how our Government was ran, the abuse of power and organized crime among our foreign affairs and mostly with the “Secret Societies” even his speech not to long before his assignation, he made public that he nor anyone in his administration would accept the order (New World Order) of a free and open society and was going to expose them, listen to it here:
The Final Shot
After all demonstrations, examinations, Theories, and pre-empted conspiracies, its clear that the final head wound that took the President’s life was no where in this parlor game, even images of the perfect shot were rarely ever published. the who or why is just scenery to the public. Many eye witnesses at the time are no longer here many have met their mortal end in very strange ways and their testimonies have never come to light.
Dealey plaza consist of a triple railroad over pass, with a three lane traffic highway under it. At the time of JFK’s assassination there were very few people on the over pass watching. Again the clue word in this parlor game is “watching” the President, people at that time were not as intimidated as we are today. Even today if you were to stand on the overpass and look onto Elm Street, you would get an eery sensation of a perfect view to a kill.
The overpass has various pillars and towers the “hide” a gunman for the proper range of his target also this specific area on the overpass are sewer grates, that when removed lead to a ladder down to the drainage system off the freeway. It was mentioned by eyewitness accounts that Jack Ruby, Oswald’s assailant, was in a white pick-up truck off the side of Elm Street along side of the drainage system, coincidence. Back then there were never any security measure to lock sewer grates, who would have thought?
It’s clear by this 1964 FBI demonstration, that a man could fire off one shot in this area and drop down the ladder that led to the drainage system at the time. Like the parlor games of today, you create a lot of commotion over there, so you can disappear over here. Oswald as a “Patsy” drew all the attention away from the overpass, even the smoke for the grassy knoll, still kept peoples attention towards the plaza and the President, not the overpass.
There have been many new committees over the years wanting this case reopened, many ex CIA/FBI members have created there own investigations however, when those who came very close to the truth, as in 1997, one person was eliminated in the same manner JFK was, a single shot to the right temple forehead. It was a reminder that this is still very much alive. I recommend that each person who still finds the need for truth seek your own research and conclusions. All JFK assassination files are locked away til 2036, for many of us that were affected by this, we will have long been gone by then. The parlor game is not over yet, not by far.
Jackie’s Last Words
In a rare interview with Barbra Walters before Jackie Kennedy Onassis died, Barbara ask her one final question at the end of the interview. She said” If there was one thing you could do differently what would it have been?” Jackie paused for a moment and then sad; “Pull Jack down in the limo….when they were shooting.”
Images and transcripts courtesy of:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
YouTube & The Kennedy Library
San Antonio Post.com