22 November 2005

A Commie Behind Every Bush

So, what were you doing 42 years ago today?

I'm a little surprised at the way this day has passed. Very little has been mentioned about what did happen 42 years ago.

I had intended to post about the history of the date, and noticed I had been beaten to the punch at

  • with a thoughtful and thought provoking post.

    I was a High School Junior. My recollection is that it was a gray, chilly, uncomfortable day in Central Indiana. Over the intercom system, Mr. Vandermeer broke into our class with the news:
    The President had been assassinated.

    How strange to look back on it now.
    Just a year before, I had gotten quite upset over the tension caused by the Cuban Missile Crisis.......I'm talkin' about upset enough to lose sleep.
    So looking back now, I'm surprised at my reaction to the news.
    I knew it was a big deal. I was upset that anyone would want to kill the President. But I had no concerns about the succession.....I was confident that our political system was efficient and would survive this tragedy without destroying the country.

    And of course, that's exactly what happened, thank God.

    But in hindsight, it's obvious how naive I was.......we all were.
    Historical scholars now say President Kennedy was unhappy with the way things were going in Viet Nam, and had planned on beginning a gradual troop withdrawal from there over the rest of his term. President Johnson did exactly the opposite, and forever changed my life.
    What course would my life, and that of the other millions, have taken if President Kennedy had survived?
    I can't imagine any scenario where I would be making a living flying helicopters today.

    And then there are the conspiracy theories.
    Don't believe in them?
    If you are ever in Dallas, go to Dealey plaza.
    What with the Zapruder film, and all the documentaries and news stories about it, you'll feel, as I did, that you've been there before.....discomforting.
    There are folks there at all times selling tabloids and magazines about different conspiracies......
    "a commie behind every bush!"

    But THIRDWAVEDAVE poses a valid question....
    why are all the records sealed until 2038?
    If I ever knew that to be the case, I had forgotten it. Who, besides someone with something to hide, benefits from that edict?

    And the question that has always amazed me:
    President Kennedy's brain was removed from his body, and transparencies were photographed as they sliced his brain into paper-thin slices to show how the bullet traveled through it.
    His brain, AND the transparencies, have disappeared!
    (Play Twilight Zone music here.)

    The history of this date deserves more attention than it is getting today.
    Thanks to THIRDWAVEDAVE for helping to make sure it gets more attention than you'll find on the major news media.

    P.S.......And GG, you almost certainly were in that same class.
    Your recollections would be interesting.


    GG said...

    The first time I wrote the date yesterday, I thought about that day so long ago. I found it curious that so little was said on the news about it.

    Yes, I remember that day and the days that followed. I remember being in the physics classroom when Mr. V made the announcement. As I recall, he first said that the President had been shot and I thought that it was some sort of sick joke. Then he came back later to say that the President was dead and he said it with some emotion in his voice. It had to be true but I just couldn’t get my head around it.

    It was a chilly, gray day and I remember walking to the school bus, hugging my books and feeling sick. No one talked. The next four days were much the same. We watched the news non-stop, the same clips over and over.

    The newscasters said that Mrs. Kennedy had taught us how to grieve. Apparently that meant not showing emotion. I wondered how all the pomp and ceremony could have been arranged so quickly. But you are so right about us being naive. I never once thought the power of the office would be transferred in any way other than it was. I also had confidence that they had caught the man who shot him and that events had transpired exactly they way they said.

    I had been in love with Camelot. I saved my babysitting money to buy a pillbox hat and coat that sort of looked like Jackie’s style. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would deliberately destroy something so wonderful. After all, Kennedy made young people feel like they could make a difference. The Peace Corps and the Space Program were things we could be a part of and the world would be a better place for our efforts.

    I felt vaguely sad all day yesterday. Sad remembering that day and sad for all the other hard lessons we had to learn after that. We had been in such a safe cozy place but changes were coming fast. There would be no going back to the place where adults could make everything right.

    As an adult, I don’t think I would have looked at Kennedy the way I did as a teen. He made so many enemies – the Mafia, the South, Castro, Republicans, the military, the unions. I wonder if Jackie was showing us less how to grieve, as she was just being a wife who wasn’t all that sad to see her philandering husband dead! (or what it looked like to be loaded on valium!) That’s cold, I know, but I’m sure her love for him had been tested to the limit.

    A few years ago, I had a dinner party and two of the guests had been at Parkland that day. They didn’t know each other then and indeed had just met at the party. They had some interesting stories to tell.
    One man had been working at a funeral home when they got a call to “get your best casket to Parkland ASAP”. He was met by several “men in black” kind of guys, who took the casket and told him to “get lost”. Later watching TV, he noticed that the casket they took off the plane at Andrews AFB was not the same one he gave them. Odd?! I mean how many caskets could be there on short notice?

    The other gentleman was a TV cameraman and he was lugging around a barely portable camera. He was in the garage when Ruby shot Oswald, but he missed the actual event! The camera lens had to be manually rotated and in the time it took to change from a long shot to a close up, the moment was missed.

    Conspiracy theories are interesting but no matter how much evidence is piled up in support, I keep coming back to my own experience in trying to get lots of people to do things that require coordination. Even when working with well trained professionals, it sometimes feels like trying to herd cats to get things to happen correctly. I just can’t imagine getting a group of people who 1) are bent on killing someone, 2) bent on killing a VIP 3) are expert at what they do 4) show up at the right place, the right time and have everything come off like clock work. Plus, having so many people keep their mouths shut.

    I just think it would be next to impossible to do that. Of course, my experience involves surprise birthday parties and the like but I don’t think criminal types are bright enough to pull that off either.

    Graybeard75 said...

    On that fateful November day, I was at home - I had worked the night shift the day before, and wanted to catch the news. What I got instead was Walter Cronkite, teary-eyed, telling us that the President was dead.

    It broguth home to me that this world was - and is moreso now - filled with crazed zealots who think the only way to "straighten things out" is to kill someone - preferably a leader. Once done, their hope is that things will change and be more like their vision, or that perceived wrongs will be righted, or that the country (whichever one) will be thrown into chaos and a new order established. Most times the true reason never really comes to light.

    I, too, have often wondered why the records pertaining to the investigation are sealed until 2038. I would like to be able to hear them when they are released, but if I am still here then, I will be 108 and probably won't care much.

    It would be nice if the Freedom of Information Act would be effective here, but that isn't about to happen. This act is rather commonly ignored, and if the issue happend to be classified, it cannot be applied.

    If we as private citizens could get a good look at all the machinations of the politicians, there would probably be hell to pay, not only in Washington, but in every state capital, and most other governmental offices.

    Would that we could.