According to the Warren Commission there is only one thing people need to believe from the Warren Report. That is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the death of the president. I will give a pause for the laughter in that statement. It is mentioned several times throughout the report and it seems like they were trying to convince themselves of it. So why would they want us to believe that a lone nut was able to pull off the crime of the century. For starters they do not want to implicate themselves in the cover up, and the fact that Oswald had indeed worked for the C.I.A. at some point. Lee Harvey Oswald had left the United States on several occasions and had ties to many different types of organizations that would want this President of the United States silenced. The perfect candidate for the architects of this plot fell right into there hands, because of the many actions leading up to the assassination. President Kennedy had created many enemies in his short presidency and these individuals had the motive to want to take out the president. I do believe that Oswald was able to make a couple of shots at the President but he did not make the final kill shot that ended the Presidents life.
In that last statement I just made, it would seem that I would believe what the Warren Commission is trying to put out there. However, Oswald was able to get a gun up to that sixth floor and make the attempt on the President’s life but he missed and he knew it. Just like in the case of General Walker where he took that one shot and missed, he thought that two shots this time would do the trick. At the Sports Dome rifle range outside of Irving, Oswald is seen practicing with his rifle by several witnesses. One of these witnesses is a 12 year old boy who notices that as the man is shooting his gun, he is catching the shell casings at the same time. The boy counts the 1st shot, catch, 2nd shot, catch, 3rd shot, catch. A strange thing for someone to be doing and at the rate he was firing the weapon. The catching of the shells is a key part of this statement because 3 shells were found by the sixth floor window after the assassination. So after all of this practice ( Oswald is seen at the range several times) why would there be shell casings laying on the floor? A setup? Who would put the shells there? Someone other than Oswald put the casings there, because in Oswald’s mind he missed the shot, and he had the casings in his pocket. The police missed this or they choose not to look further into the statements of the witnesses at the rifle range.
By the time Oswald is found in the lunchroom by Officer Baker and Roy Truly he is not out of breath because he left the window at the sixth floor in plenty of time. He is startled at the fact that he is found by the policeman so fast and he hurried to his rooming house to retrieve his gun. It would seem that the plan that was made up for the assassination attempt has gone wrong at some point in Oswald’s mind. The part that Oswald was supposed to play in it seems to be out of control and something is wrong. His actions after the assassination seem to dictate this, and he was prepared to go down with a fight. The quote ” its all over now” was something he said while getting arrested at the Texas Theatre, but we know even 50 years after the assassination, that it is clearly not over.
I come from a generation that was not able to see or hear John F. Kennedy in real life. We only have seen him through the television and in black and white. Just think if we had the chance to see this man or even hear him speak in person. The world we live in now does not let us get close to a President like it was in those days and we will never have a chance unless we donate a significant amount of money to the campaign of that candidate.
Back then this man was real and he wanted the people to be able to see him, let alone hear his voice. Although at the time of his death, his approval rating was not the greatest, it is widely believed that he would have been elected to a second term because he connected to so many people. He was young, smart and had the looks of a movie star. We have looked for a President like him ever since, and every Democratic Presidential candidate since has had to embrace the Kennedy legacy and know that this is what we are looking for. Someone that had vision into the future and had the best interest of the country at all times.
A day like November 22nd, 1963 is one of those days that impacted everyone, much like Pearl Harbor to the generation before and 9/11 to my generation. The world stopped on this day 50 years ago and it seems that we have never been able to move on ever since. The mistrust in government which started on this day has only gotten worse over the years. We still know that there is more to the assassination then what the government has put in the Warren Report and we have not forgiven them for not giving us the answers.
All it takes is to look at the pictures of the motorcade in Dallas to know that this President was loved and admired by many people. Even in a state like Texas which the President’s advisors thought would be difficult,had in fact turned out much larger crowds than expected. Images of people smiling and waving at the president show their excitement. We haven’t had that trust and excitement of a President looking towards the future since, and it is something we all want. Let’s us all teach our children to remember days like November 22nd, 1963, December 7th, 1941 and September 11th, 2001 not just on the big anniversary’s that occur every 5 or 10 years but every year that these days come by. Let us tell them how it impacted the history of this country. It is up to us to keep the memory alive of these events. We will never know what the world would be like if Kennedy lived, but we know that it would have been a better place had he did.
So this past weekend I was able to finally make it to Dallas, Texas. As I was walking around Dealey Plaza it was incredible to realize just how close everyone was to the assassination. When looking at pictures it is hard to visualize it, but when you are there you are taken back in time. The plaza looks just as it did 50 years ago, except that some of the trees have gotten larger. I was able to walk around and inspect the area to see the different angles that the spectators were able to see that day.
I did what any typical tourist would do, I walked the grassy knoll, went behind the picket fence and stood on top of the triple underpass. All of these could have been good vantage points for any potential assassin, but the probability that it happened in one of these locations with the people in the area are unlikely. The main spot that I wanted to visit was the snipers nest on the sixth floor. Going into the building makes you think about the aftermath of the shooting and the route Oswald took inside of the building. Although the building has been modernized, there are still elements of what it looked like in 1963.
Some of the things that were interesting when I was on the sixth floor, was the fact that I could hear the footsteps of the people in the floor above me. The wood floors make it easy to hear what is going on, and it just so happened that people were moving things around on the seventh floor. This is interesting because on Nov. 22 1963 three workers were on the 5th floor of the depository eating there lunch. They claim to have heard things being moved and the shell casings from the gun hitting the floor. The testimony of Bonnie Ray Williams states that he heard the shots come from the building and that he ran to the other side of the floor thinking they came from there. By being in the building and hearing the things above makes it certain that they could have heard these things. The problem is that there was two other men with Bonnie Ray and the number of shots that they heard differ.
The trip to Dallas was something I will never forget, and I know that I will be back at some point. Going into the museum and doing research inside of the Reading Room, makes me want to go back even more. There are so many unanswered questions regarding the death of the President and Dallas is the main source of the many of the answers.
At some point in life we learn about death and loss. As hard it is to talk about it is a hard line fact that it will happen to all of us. My grandmother told me a story when I was 8 years old about a young president who died way too young and left so much behind. I just could not understand why someone would do this and I wonder that to this day.
Learning about the life and death of John F. Kennedy became something that was a part of me and it helped me become a better student. When your 8 years old, learning about autopsy’s and bullet fragments is not something that typically happens. As I grew older the interest never faded it only became more expensive because of the material I was buying. I always dreamed as a kid that one day I would be able to go to Dallas to see where he got shot and see the sixth floor museum.
I was too young to go to the 30th anniversary and I promised myself that the 40th anniversary would be the year I go. My youngest daughter was born in October of that year and I was unable to attend that year as well. So here we are, the 50th anniversary is a few weeks away and I was unable to obtain tickets to the memorial. However, my wife pushed me to not give up and that we would still go.
I have always said that going to Dallas would be the top thing on my bucket list of things to do. It’s not often that people get to say that they have done the one thing they have always wanted to do. Dallas means more than seeing the museum or the grassy knoll. It takes me back to my grandmother telling me those stories about him and how it all ended on that sunny day in November.