Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Brief Shining Moment

It was about this time 30 years ago that my grandmother pointed me towards a path that I did not dream I would still be interested in. Underneath my bed had sat a big metal tin, full of papers, magazines and newspapers that she had kept in this tin since 1963. At first glance I did not realize what I was looking at, especially an 8 year old boy who had a reading problem and had zero interest in getting better at. I remember clearly asking her who this person was, and she said “that was the most beloved President we will ever see”. This tin was full of memories of President John F. Kennedy and this tin was full of, Life Magazines, different pictures, and newspaper clippings that she personally wrote on.  On the side of the New York Daily News, she wrote “Our immortal President, for he will be missed by all of us now and forever”. From that moment on, I could not get enough of what this man had meant not just to my grandmother, but for this country and the world. For each birthday my family did not buy me many toys (well some), they bought John F. Kennedy books, memorabilia and anything that that was associated with the 35th President of the United States.

That journey still continues to this day, and I find myself as an adult having to hold back from buying books, memorabilia and anything I can get my hands on. Why is this so? How could a man that died 17 years before I was born mean so much to me and why do I continue to research his death and his life? The answer is simple, we have been searching for hope, and we have been searching for someone that can bring us those kinds of visions and ideas that he had for this country. Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, we are in search of someone with that kind of hope for all of us. Even though many stories have come forth that will try and tarnish the image of JFK, it is the youth, the hope, the belief in all of us that he brought to the United States of America that will never be tarnished. JFK was not a perfect person, but he was perfect for us and our country. History has shown the many events that happened in the aftermath of his death and we wonder how different this world would have been had JFK lived.

This was a time in America where the innocence was still there and would remain there following his assassination. We are unable to go back in time to stop those that ended his life, but we are able to carry on what he believed and try making a mark on this world. I truly believe and have for years now, that I need to do something that will help keep his memory alive. I don’t have the ambition or know how, to be a politician, so I can’t make those visions he saw come to life. Their might be someone that reads this blog or the many other books out there and use that as a personal ambition to do more. Keeping the memory of JFK alive and well for those that might not have as much knowledge as some of us in the research community, should be the goal of those that study JFK. His assassination is still researched daily by many (me included), and we should continue to try and uncover the truth while trying to maintain his legacy along the way. This is a day of remembrance, this is a day to look forward, this is a day for us, to see not what our country can do for us, but what we can do for our country.

Below you will see images that I have found of his resting place and the many visitors that still visit his grave each day. The numbers may not be as large as they were in 1963, but in 2018 there are still many who visit Arlington National Cemetery. They pay respect to a man that had meant so much for so many. In one of the images you see JFK’s grandson looking down at his grandfather’s grave, and you can’t help but wonder what he is thinking at that moment. A new generation of Americans must be reminded of what was lost on that day in Dallas and the impact that it has had on the world we live in today.

 

 

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History Has a Way of Repeating Itself

If you looked up the definition of “Destiny” in the dictionary, you will read that it says; “the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future”. President John F. Kennedy had a destiny predetermined in terms of his life and death. He had been groomed to become President of the United States following the death of his older brother Joe Jr. In terms of his death being pre-determined, many will argue about the circumstances surrounding his assassination and who was at fault and the many questions that still linger on today. However, I am a big believer in that history will repeat itself if we are not aware of what has happened in the past, and for those of us who love history know that it tends to repeat itself more times than none. While going through my typical weekly Ebay hunting for JFK memorabilia, I found a book that intrigued me, the title of the book “American Presidents and Destiny”. At first glance and without even reading the description, I knew this would be a book that I would be intrigued to purchase.

If you follow the history of the American Presidency you will find out a strange trend that had happened to Presidents starting with President William Harrison elected in 1840. President Harrison died in office as would Lincoln who was elected in 1860, Garfield elected in 1880, McKinley elected in 1900, Harding elected in 1920, Roosevelt elected in 1940, and of course President Kennedy elected in 1960. Every 20 years from 1840 until 1960 the President of the United States died in office. Now back to the book I was talking about that I found on Ebay. This book written in 1960 and published in September of that year asked the question on the front page if the next president will die in office. Once inside the book, it gives you the same information about the previous presidents who died in office, with 1960 left blank (the previous owner of the book wrote down Kennedy in those blank spots). Once I received the book in the mail, I started to comb through the various pages and finding different quotes that show how the author felt about history repeating itself. For instance, one quote in the book, “If this cycle of the presidents continues then the president elected in 1960 will die sometime between 1961 and 1969”. The author of the book did not seem to be a big Kennedy fan and in one section of the book, there is a question and answer section in which the author is asked if JFK would make a good president, despite him being of Catholic religion. The author answered this question by saying, “It is perhaps one of the most fateful developments in American history. It should be the matter of the deepest concern to all U.S citizens”. To the author, if JFK was elected President of the United States, then destiny would take over and history would repeat itself.

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I know this is not the typical assassination type material that I have posted in the past, but it is instead of some unique things you can find, whether it is on Ebay, t a thrift store, or at a local flea market. Items like this are unique and show the type of resistance JFK had in trying to get elected president and also shows a predetermined destiny. While hunting for new items to add to my collection I am starting to look more at things that came out before his assassination and see how people felt about JFK, whether it be good or bad. In some future posts, I will be showing you and reviewing some books that I have recently found that show these types of situations. If you have found something unique and would like to share, feel free to comment on the post or reach out to me and I will share on my page.

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What Could Have Been..

The word “Hope” is used a lot when talking about many of the great politicians who lives were cut too short. The 1960’s especially was a critical turning point in our country’s history, when the decade began with the word “Hope”. When President John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States, he brought the word to the forefront of American politics. The young president spoke strong words in his inauguration speech, and left the country believing that our future was in good hands. As we know, his presidency was cut short and with his death, the word “Hope” was soon lost on that day in Dallas. Our hope for the future was no longer in his hands; instead it was left with a President who had a different agenda and a different mindset then that of his predecessor. No one could believe that Lyndon Johnson would continue the work that JFK had sought for the country, not even JFK’s brother Robert could believe it. When John Kennedy died on November 22nd, 1963 it would feel like the hope of the nation had left with him.

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It would be 5 years before the word “Hope” would once again come in front of the American people. A decision so many had hoped he would make, Senator Robert F. Kennedy decided to run for President of the United States 50 years ago this month. A turning point was on the horizon in American politics as Lyndon Johnson had turned into a hated figure, and hope was all but lost with him sitting in the Oval Office. Unable to sit back, and seeing an opportunity to bring back the word “Hope”, RFK made a decision to run. What transpired was a campaign that lasted for 3 months and instantly brought back that same breath of fresh air that JFK had brought 8 years before. The American people needed a leader like RFK to inspire them, to lead them, and to bring everyone together. The year 1968 in history books, is one that is filled with hatred and violence, but some of that could have changed had RFK been able to fulfill his destiny. Instead, destiny took a turn on the night of June 4th, 1968 as RFK was shot and killed having just won the Democratic primary in California. The speech RFK gave before his death was filled with the same hope and inspiring message of unity that he had been speaking about for the past 3 months on the campaign trail. Now that voice was silent, and another Kennedy’s life was cut too short to fully bring “Hope” to a reality.

Now as we look back on what could have been 50 years later, we are still tormented by the word “Hope”. To some, hope was lost on November 22, 1963, but to many, hope died on the day RFK took his last breath. We have seen over the years those who have tried to replicate the Kennedy flare, and bringing back “Hope”, but it is never the same and they are never able to come through. The country lost its faith in politicians in the 1960’s mostly in part to leaders like Johnson and Nixon, but that could have changed had Bobby won the election in 1968. We can never go back and time, but we can always think of what could have been scenario. By looking at the work someone had been putting in and seeing the belief that person had inn the country, makes you believe them to their word. Even though 50 years have passed, and he was never elected President of the United States, Robert Kennedy is just as beloved figure now as he was then. It is surrounded around the word “Hope”, a true belief that this man had the best interest in the country in mind and could have changed the course of history had he lived. I will end this post with the words of Ted Kennedy as he eulogized his brother Robert, “My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it”.

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Happy Birthday Bobby!!

On what would have been his 92nd birthday, we take a look at Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s last speech. The hope that was lost with the death of RFK still has has lasting effects on the United States today.

 

The Moment of Truth or Just another Step Backwards.

 

As we approach a date that many researchers in the JFK community have looked upon as one of the defining moments in finding out the possible truth, it is important to for us to look at what exactly we are looking for. Are the files that have been long kept from us, give us the answers to solving the crime of the century? Some like myself, are looking for some key parts that may have been kept, certain names, organizations, and other various aspects that will help put the pieces into place. Even though I have been researching and learning about the JFK assassination since the time I was about 9 years old, the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. While we are looking for a certain thing in these files, we may overlook another that could possibly put it together. That is why it is important as a community to be able to talk and work together with this. For many years, and even to this day, my family and friends have called me “the JFK guy”. Anytime a mention of JFK comes on the news or social media, it is almost a certainty that one of them thinks of me. That became very clear this past week with the announcement that President Trump was willing to not block the release of the JFK files. From text messages, phone calls, emails, and seeing me in person, friends and family told me about it. The interest in the JFK assassination comes and goes with many, but to the few who spend the countless hours researching, the interest never leaves.
The JFK files release is like the Super Bowl in a way to those in the JFK community, it can either be exactly what we were waiting for, or it could leave us not impressed and waiting for the next big game. Unfortunately, there is not a next year, not another chance at the big game, this is our big game. Even if the files do not give us the answers we are looking for, there is so much information out there, that we might have overlooked. I was surprised a couple of years ago when I came across Acme Building Maintenance in one of the files. In a previous article I talked about this company and how they had access and keys to the Texas School Book Depository up to and including the night before the assassination. A chance reading when I was going through interviews, and something that not many people had looked at before. Even today when I google Acme Building Maintenance about JFK, my article and website appears. The point of this is not to talk about the article, but to show that information is still out there. It has been out there, just buried beneath a rubble of information that was not intended for us to find. If we can come together and share information, and talk rationally about it, we can put things together.
Over the course of the next few weeks, as we all dig a little bit deeper, the public interest will fade, and we will still be at our computers, reading books, looking at films, and looking to find answers. As I dig through the rubble of information, I will be sharing what I find, and if any of it might connect to something. I must open my blinders and not just look for Acme Building Maintenance, but also for other things that may have gone unnoticed. With two conferences coming up in Dallas in November, and the release of the files coming in the days ahead, a lot of information will be out there. I am part of the younger generation of researchers, not having been born during the time of JFK, instead born and raised during a time in which the public interest was reaching all- time highs. If you would like to share what exactly you are looking for in the files, then please feel free to leave comments below. The more we can talk and learn from each other, the better we are all going to be in finding out the truth.

 

 

 

 

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Camelot’s Protector: Book Review of Jacqueline Kennedy’s interviews with Arthur Schlesinger.

For those that lived during the early 1960’s, Jacqueline Kennedy had become more than just the First Lady of the United States, she had become a star. The star of the show that was played out before the nation, with the young president at her side, and a nation that wanted to copy everything that she was doing. Jacqueline Kennedy only wanted a few things in life, and none of it included becoming this type of figure. However, on November 22nd, 1963, fate would take over and put her in a place only a few First Ladies before her had to endure, that of becoming a widow. Every move that she would make in those moments after the gunshots took the life of her husband, would be etched into the minds of millions of Americans for decades to come. The stained pink dress, watching her husband’s successor take the oath of office, finding the right burial spot, and ensuring the nation would never forget this time in history.

It is with history in mind that Jacqueline Kennedy sat down with famed historian and Kennedy advisor, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. for a series of interviews just months after the events in Dallas. The interviews were recorded by Schlesinger and the agreement would be that they would be sealed for 50 years. According to her daughter Caroline Kennedy, the interviews were unlocked just weeks after her mother’s death so that the family could decide if it was time for them to be released. Caroline had decided that it was not the right time, and it would be another 17 years before the public could hear the voice that had been so strong during such a tragic time.

Over the course of the next seven conversations that spanned months during 1964, Jackie Kennedy shed light on many topics regarding her husband. Some of those topics included his presidential aspirations, what he liked to read, his relationship with his brother Bobby, and his plans for after the presidency. The book features a written form of the interviews and it also includes the recordings themselves. I have found myself listening to these conversations on my way to work, and actually hearing her voice, gives the conversation some life. Mr. Schlesinger is careful to avoid many of the controversial topics that have been printed in the years after. Instead, in these early months after JFK’s death, Jackie is painting the image of JFK that she thought he deserved. Asked at one point in the conversation as to how her husband would have described himself, she states, “An idealist without illusions”. A true statement for a man that had so many visions for the country, but were left unfinished by a life cut short.

Some of the other interesting topics that are brought up by Schlesinger, is the relationship that JFK had with the FBI, and the CIA. When asked about the situation, Jackie states, “I know he was going to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover and he always said that those were the two things he did first- you know, Hoover and Allen Dulles, which I guess he had to do at the time”. There are those that believe that individuals such as Hoover and Dulles had something to do with the assassination, and this statement by JFK’s wife, shows the indifference he had with these two men.

Another person of interest in the interviews that came up, was the name Lyndon Johnson. Jackie felt that her husband tried many times over the course of his administration to involve Johnson with decisions, but that Johnson simply just agreed with everything that was being said. So instead of having a “yes” man, he would send him on trips around the world. One notable statement that Jackie makes about this, is something that happened in our current events today. As a new Air Force One was needed, Johnson pushed for JFK to order four more Air Force Ones, and that Moscow’s planes were much faster. In turn Jackie stated, “Jack wasn’t going to spend that much money for four new planes, and Lyndon kept pushing him to do it”. JFK did not give in to Johnson’s demands, and the rift between the two was growing to a point in which Johnson might be dropped from the ticket. Jackie explains that she did not think that JFK would drop Lyndon in 1964, but that JFK had stated to her, “Oh God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?” Well the nation did get to see what would happen, and the effects of his presidency left a scar on the presidency that was felt for decades.

The book is a must have for any Kennedy collector, and the recordings are the most valued portion of the book. Within those CD’s, the voices of history are heard, and the protector of Camelot sheds light on the events before JFK’s presidency, during it, and what could have been after it. Jackie Kennedy believed that her husband would have gone around the world, written a book, or even done something with his library. Instead it was left to her to form the image and history surrounding her husband, and she was able to give the country that brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.

Access to the Texas School Book Depository

 

Three years ago I found something in a police statement that has overtaken my mind and my time. This police statement was not meant to be of much, as it was the police statement of Texas School Book Depository Superintendent Roy Truly. The statement was to put more guilt onto alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and ended up having something in it, that I have been researching ever since. Within the statement, Mr. Truly mentions that the Texas School Book Depository had a janitor service that worked overnight within the building. These individuals had keys to the building, and had access to it, in the early morning hours of Friday, November 22nd, 1963. My original post about this company was in the early stages of my research, and within this article, you are going to read about everything that I have found over the past 2 years. Graduate school took me away from the research, but now I am back into it, and finding more out about this company.

So who was Acme Building Maintenance Company, and why did the Warren Commission not look into this company any further? Let’s start at the beginning and review who owned the company and how it became in what could have been, a key part of the set up in the assassination. The company was founded in 1920 by a man named Frank C. Jones. As high rise buildings were popping up inside the city of Dallas, Mr. Jones sought to take advantage of the vast amount of cleaning that these new buildings would need. The company grew at a fast rate and by the 1940’s and 1950’s, they were cleaning over 2 million square feet of office space within the city of Dallas. With an office set up on 1901 Laws Street in Dallas, the company was in a central location to all of its primary customers. The success of the company enabled Mr. Jones to become one of Dallas’s elite businessmen, and with articles featured in the Dallas Morning News during this time, he was able to have great financial success. With this success, Mr. Jones joined the Dallas Citizens Council, a group of powerful Dallas business owners who in later years would set up the luncheon at the Trade Mart for President Kennedy upon his arrival in Dallas. In 1954, an article in the Dallas Morning News had the caption “Acme Building Maintenance, Dallas’ Industrial Janitor”.

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With over 125 employees working under him, and major businesses such as the Baker Hotel, The Dallas Morning News, Southwestern Bell, The Dallas Times Herald, and Dallas Medical and Surgical Hospital, all used the services of Acme Building Maintenance. Although the company was growing, the company was trying to stay local with its business, and it board of directors included such names as, Milt Thomas, Paul Clark, Robert Whitener, and even Mr. Jones’ wife, Eva Jones. The company would get one particular business that would change the course of not only the country’s history, but also this small company as well. In May 1963, Acme became contracted with the Texas School Book Depository. In the months before this contract was taken, another man would join the ranks of the board at Acme, and his name was William Travis. William Travis was also on the board of directors at Republic National Bank of Dallas at this time as well. This new director would play a key part in the eventual downfall of Acme in the coming months, and would later look to take control of the company away from Frank Jones.

The events surrounding the assassination have been well documented, and there is no mention of Acme Building Maintenance except in two police statements. The first was by Truly, and the second would be by the janitor of the TSBD, Eddie Piper. Following along with what Truly had mentioned in his own statement, Piper reiterated the fact that the employees at Acme had access to the building overnight. Yet again, no action was taken place to investigate this company. On November 8th, 1963, a document pertaining to the housing of William Travis, stated that his home was in the stages of foreclosure. This chain of events would lead one to believe that Mr. Travis was in need of money, and he needed it fast. The home was not taken away from him, and in fact by 1964 you would not have known Mr. Travis was in any kind of money issues. By April 1964 in documents found, the Acme Building Maintenance Company changed hands and changed names. The new owners of the company included a man by the name of William Travis, the board member who came to the Acme company in 1963. In documents obtained, the new company would be named, Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc. and with it, the new board consisted of two former Acme board of directors, Travis, and CFO Milton Thomas.

This new company would not keep that new Acme name for long. In June 1964, parts of the Acme company was again sold to an acquisition company called CT Corporation (ChemTech), and the Acme name was still as late as 1966. The remaining holdings of the former Acme company were gone, and what was known as Acme Building Maintenance, a strong Dallas based company with over 200 businesses as customers, was suddenly gone within a year. What came about in the aftermath of this sale, was the founding of a new businesses by William Travis, each of which would be named “Maintenance of”. There was Maintenance of Dallas, Maintenance of Fort Worth, Maintenance of San Antonio, and finally Maintenance of Houston. Each one of these companies has a president or CEO with the last name of Travis. William Travis himself is still listed as the Chairman of the Board of Maintenance of Houston. When reached for comment about this finding, the representatives at Maintenance of Houston said they would get back to me, so far, no contact has been made.

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So where did the original owner Frank C. Jones end up? After the sale of his company, Mr. Jones went was not able to find the success he had with his first company, and by 1966 in documents obtained, he was forced to sell his original home since 1944. Mr. Jones, would go onto working at various companies over the next couple of decades, and would live off of pensions from these jobs. By the time of his death in 1991, Frank Jones was not a well-known man in Dallas anymore, and the company he had founded was broken up into many different companies by a former board member.

By the time the Warren Commission was pulling together witnesses, the Acme company had already been sold twice, and broken up into different companies. With that, the records of all employees went with these acquisitions. The only names that can be found are the original board of directors, and the board of directors from the new company. Was this done to keep the real killers identity a secret, was William Travis paid off and handed keys to would be assassins to set up a sniper’s perch? All of these theories are left to the unknown, but what we know, is that a company that should have been looked into more, clearly was not. If you try and find the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas, you will be unable to find them. Most likely, my website will come up. In various city directories they are briefly mentioned, but the State of Texas does not even have them as a business that existed in that state. Another Acme Building Maintenance Inc., existed in Austin, Texas, and they had to give permission to William Travis in order to use the name Acme Building Maintenance of Dallas Inc.

In 2013 on a visit to Dallas, I was visiting the reading room at the Sixth Floor Museum. While I was in there, the late curator of the museum Gary Mack happened to be in there at the same time. I was too afraid to talk to him about this company at the time, so I emailed him later that day in hopes that he would have some more information about them. In his response, he was not able to provide much except for the same police statements that I already had in which they were mentioned. At the end of his email, he told me to keep him informed of this company, as he found it intriguing. I kept digging, and will continue to dig into this company and those that were a part of it at the time. For they, may hold the key to some of the answers in the Kennedy assassination.

 

Assistant President RFK

The assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963 set forth in motion a chain of events in the history of the United States that would reshape it in the years that followed. For those who lived during this time, the events in Dallas changed the lives of many Americans, some too young to understand, and some old enough to realize the damage it had done to our country. The motives behind the assassination have been speculated by many, and the outcome of the research takes the culprits in the assassination to the forefront. One of the theories that has been mentioned was the involvement of Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. Having once been the powerful majority leader of the Senate, the now Vice-President would find his role diminished by the Kennedy administration. In this book review you are going to learn about a book that I had found at a local flea market a few years back. The book, “Robert F. Kennedy: Assistant President”, shows you the possible motivation that Johnson could have had in wanting to ascend to the presidency.

The book written by Gary Gordon in 1962, highlights the many life accomplishments of RFK as he made his way to the position of Attorney General. Within the first few pages the author describes the book as, “The dramatic life story of the second most powerful man in Washington”. Interesting to note about this book since it was written in 1962, was the fact that many polls taken by Newsweek, and U.S News, and other news outlets, put RFK ahead of Lyndon Johnson in terms of their power and influence over the country. The main theme of the book is to bring RFK into the national spotlight and in hopes of showing the American people that he was more than just the President of the United States brother. In many parts of the book, the author paints RFK as the man who not only got JFK elected through his hard work as campaign manager, but that he was not willing to take on a cabinet spot within the administration.

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The many chapters in the book show the reader that RFK may not have been qualified to become Attorney General, but he was able to use his position within the White House to change the role that Attorney Generals had. If those outside of the White House were seeing the way RFK was having influence over the decisions that his brother was making, then you know LBJ saw it as well. As the book starts off showing the Presidential campaign of 1960, it backtracks to highlight the life of RFK. Having no lawyer experience, he did not want the position of Attorney General at first. Trying to not show favoritism to his own family, JFK knew he wanted RFK by his side in those critical decision making times, and that he needed to be a cabinet member to achieve that. According to the author, JFK was quoted as saying, “I’ll take Bobby’s word over almost anybody’s”. The idea of having a family member within the cabinet had not been done before, and RFK was afraid of the political backlash that it would have in a future re-election campaign.

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Something of interest in the book was the trip around the world that RFK took in the early stages of 1962. The trip would be unprecedented by a United States Attorney General, and it had the feel of something more. The trip usually meant for Vice-Presidents, and one that LBJ took himself, was meant for RFK to get a feel of foreign affairs. The trip enabled RFK to see the issues at hand, and he would be able to have a better decision making process on these situations once back in Washington with his brother. It is hard to imagine the LBJ did not take great offense to this, and felt the lack of support from both Kennedy brothers. At the end of the book, the author makes a statement that is eerie to read as it has a statement that looks into the future. The author states, “In 1968, with JFK prevented by the Constitution from running again, the speculation is that Bobby could go before the voters with eight years of experience as an Assistant President”. Was this the motivation that was needed for LBJ, to end the Kennedy presidency? Did he himself want the presidency after JFK, and having read the many magazines and books proclaiming RFK as the second man in Washington, finally get to him? It is just one of the many theories that have been claimed over the years, and books such as these spark the mind into thinking. This book was an interesting find, and I recommend to always be on the lookout for books such as these, as they could hold the motives that others had in assassinating the President of the United States.

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Time to Unite as a Nation

As we are about to enter into an important day in American history, read this quote on how JFK viewed days in which the country was divided and how we needed to come together for our nation. We don’t let elections divide us as a nation, instead we should come together as the new leader of the free world takes their place inside of the White House.

“For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great — not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud — but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.” —

“Address at a Luncheon Meeting of the National Industrial Conference Board (33),” February 13, 1961, Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1961.

Never Let it Be Forgot

With the passage of the John F. Kennedy Centennial Commission Act in July 2016, the memory of JFK’s life will be remembered throughout the country in 2017. With the 100th anniversary of his birth being remembered by so many who were not alive during his presidency, shows the impact that JFK had on the United States. The memory of John F. Kennedy has not left the mind frame of the American people because of the countless amounts of books, movies, and documentaries about his life. Having been the first television president, JFK left his stamp on the country in which he sought a New Frontier for. It is the vision of the New Frontier, that has had the lasting impact of his life on so many Americans, and it was his death has continued the myth of “what could have been”.

During my two years of grad school, I had set up my thesis about the myth of JFK and how he controlled both image and myth about himself. It was after his death that others around him sought to carry on the legacy and thus Camelot was born. It was not born during the Kennedy years, as JFK would have preferred to be remembered more as a simple man. A man whose love of history was obvious, and he knew that the things he did in the office would be a reflection of his image in the years that followed. Having researched this assignment for a long period of time, the term Camelot became a symbol of the JFK years, and that came directly from his wife Jackie. It was Jackie that sent men such as Arthur Schlesinger Jr, and others to the Library of Congress to seek information about the funeral for President Abraham Lincoln. She wanted to replicate that funeral because she felt that her husband should be remembered as one of the greats.

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Over time the image of JFK has remained intact even though in the years since his death, many allegations of affairs and bad health tried to reshape the image into something different. The image that JFK had built for himself during his run for Congress and the image his wife created in the aftermath of his death has had a stronghold on the American people. Last month I was lucky enough to visit Washington D.C on a research visit. During the first day of the trip, I went to Arlington Cemetery to pay my respects and to also get a feel of the visitors to the site. I noticed many different types of people that went to the gravesite, some old, some young, some from other countries, but all, with a deep respect of the fallen president. If you have never made a trip, I would highly recommend it because you get a feel of “what could have been”. Along with Jackie on the decision to pick a site, was Robert Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The breathtaking view of Washington D.C from the burial site, shows a viewpoint in which JFK is always overlooking the city and nation he had a future for.

It was during this trip that I was able to go to the Library of Congress to research my topic and use the books and online resources that is available there. Having never been, I was intimidated by the fact that I would be sitting in such a historical place. Once inside, I requested books that I had found online, and before you knew it, I was sitting at a desk among other historians and researchers. I have been following the life and death of JFK since I was 8 years old, and not until that moment sitting in that seat, did I ever feel so close to him. History was all around me and I was able to find the things I was looking for within those walls. For any lover of history, going to the Library of Congress should be on the bucket list of things to do.

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With my thesis complete, my main goal for going to graduate school was to be able to write a book that represented everything that I have learned about JFK. His death has overshadowed many of the things in his life, as he has been remembered more in death then in life. By next year, I hope to be able to turn my thesis into my first book, and showcase how he was able to go from a young Jack Kennedy, to John F. Kennedy, then to the persona of JFK. All of which was created by the man himself, and left to those close to him to pass on to a new generation of Americans seeking hope. We have not had a president since him who has captivated the imagination of the country, and whose ideas would still resonate today. If you have visited either Arlington Cemetery, or even the JFK Library in Boston, share your visit with others below. The memory of his life and his death resides in those who choose to continue to share it with others. In the coming months I will be going back to looking into the details surrounding his death, but I will also be showcasing on this site the image and myth that he created.

 

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