Friday, November 22, 2013

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I was five years old when JFK was assassinated.  I remember so many things about that week-end and so many thoughts that plagued my young mind, even then.  Fifty years later, it's still a day of remembrance for me.  It was such an influential event in my young life, to this day, when writing the date on November 22, it's a reflex to just write 1963.  It's automatic, like my birthday or my kid's.

There were many things about his presidency to which I related . . . First, I shared the same last name.  The Irish immigrants and descendants were not always embraced by those of other European origins, so it was not uncommon in the early part of the 20th century for Native Americans avoiding the Dawes Roll to "marry off" a sister to an Irish gentleman and the entire family take the name.  So, I was little brown Kennedy.  Second, Caroline was not quite a year older than I, and John Jr. was a few months older than my sister.  Third, when I I heard people speaking of the president there were frequent comments as to his youth and good looks.  I heard the same thing about my Daddy!  Keep in mind these are the thoughts of a five year old girl.

The heaviness, besides seeing a nation in mourning, was also of a personal nature.

 I already thought Vice President Johnson was a mean man.  I discerned a tone to his voice that made me very uneasy.  I didn't like watching him in news clips, not that I tuned in attentively every evening.  I watched him sworn in as President and I felt really, really queasy.  As President, he was going to take the house away from those little kids.  He was going to make those orphaned children move.  In my mind, President Johnson was causing those children who had just lost their father, to also lose their house.  Then when I saw the photo with the beagle the next year, the meanness was confirmed!
   *photo in the article Post Kennedy White House

President Kennedy's short time in office and sudden death greatly affected our nation, and I believe some of the questions surrounding his election and death are foundational in the current dissatisfaction with the political system and our distrust of our political leaders.  What has been building for fifty years, often reflects back to his short time in the national spotlight.   At the time he died, it didn't matter if someone was republican or democrat, America's President had been killed.  The Warren Commission took less than a year to deliver the verdict of Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin, but even then, there were some issues of logic and physics that challenged that report.

There have been many, many theories through the years, documentaries, and movies to fuel the theories that literally keep his death alive, in this nation.  Although I do not know who or how many were responsible for the death of President Kennedy, I do not believe Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, if he was involved at all.  There are some factors this writer believes fifty years later.  In 1964, the nation or it's leaders, thought we could put this tragedy behind us with an official report, even if we didn't really believe it.  We just wanted it all wrapped up neatly and the idea that our government could lie was unimaginable, and certainly unspeakable.

We have now come to realize, we chose to accept something official that is questionable.  We've let a number of illogical, unanswered questions stand as fact for fifty years, and that has eroded the trust of the people.  Not only is there reason to doubt some of the information contained in the report, we have to face the fact, that information was given to us by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  Perhaps if the Warren Report actually answered the haunting questions, that horrible November day in Dallas, could have been laid to rest.

President Kennedy's death is no longer about his death, it's about what we were told and the reality that to question what we were told means we have doubts about those in authority.  This isn't about the Kennedys and this isn't about Lee Harvey Oswald, this is about distrust on the highest level of government and the fact that it has been building for half a century.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.  a Proverb of Holy Scripture

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