Tag Archives: grassy knoll

Remembering the day JFK left us..

The day is stuck fresh in the mind of those that had to live through it, and it has become fresh in the mind that visit Dealey Plaza even today. The day, November 22nd, 1963 has had much meaning for those that were alive during the year 1963, and for those not quite old enough to have been around for this event. If you have never been to this spot, it is not as big as it might look on television, and it is a very high traffic area. On my recent visit to Dallas, I took my own children to visit this historic place. My children were ready to learn about everything that I have been studying since I was 8 years old. As we approached the plaza, there was hundreds of people who were taking pictures of the old Texas School Book Depository, pictures of the grassy knoll and selfies in front of just about anything they thought had meaning. As I was standing there explaining things to my children, I could not help but look out in the distance and find, families having picnics, people playing football, and others who seemed liked they were just dragged there by their significant other. Were these people disrespecting the site I thought? Were they not appreciating the history that was right in front of their face? Regardless, they were there, and with that, the history and the mystery surrounding the Kennedy assassination will live on.

I have been to Washington D.C a few times, and each time I have walked past Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was killed. The book store across the street, and the adjoining building in which Lincoln lost his life, were right there in front of me to visit. My interest in history started with JFK, and here I was in front of where Lincoln was shot, much like I was, when I was in Dealey Plaza. Not many people were in the book store, and from the times that I was there, the visitor entrance for the theater was never crowded. Sure, people have paid money to go inside of the theater to see the spot of his assassination, but it was not like Dealey Plaza. Had time let people forget about this special place? Were they not interested in this spot some 100 years after his assassination? These questions were in my head at that time when I visited Dallas, I wondered when people would stop caring. Here we are 53 years later, and on any given day, you will find people taking pictures, going to the museum, and standing in the spot where history changed. But when will that change, just as people not visiting Ford’s Theater as much

The Saturday I visited Dealey Plaza, the place was full of families, individuals, and others who were in town for a football game the next day. Regardless of why they were in Dallas, they were there. My fear is that this next generation may not have the same feeling that my generation, and the ones before me have had about the Kennedy assassination. I firmly believe that I have taught my kids enough about history, and how it must never be forgotten. It is with history that we are to learn from our mistakes, and can create a better life, from what has happened in the past. Do the kids playing football, or the ones having a picnic, not care about the spot where they are, and will their kids stop passing the history down? We must never forget the events in history that changed our world, and the Kennedy assassination was one of those events.

The difference between the two places in history is that with Dealey Plaza, it is there in the open for anyone to visit for free. It is a major part of Dallas, and the entrance and exit away from downtown. The painted white “X” on the spot where the fatal shot took place, is a constant reminder for those that drive over it each day. You can feel a sense of history from that spot, as you cross the very same area in which the 35th President of the United States lost his life. The assassination will live on for many years and for many generations to come, and how people remember both the event, and the man whose life was cut short that day will live on through them. Whether they are there for that picnic, football game, or even that group selfie, they know that history forever changed at that spot and on this day 53 years ago. If you were alive during this time, tell us what you were doing at the time of the president’s assassination, and if you were not alive at this time, tell us why you think people will always remember this day.

 

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Warren Commission likes to leave out witnesses..

It has become an almost everyday occurrence to find witnesses that the Warren Commission wanted to ignore. There are many individuals who were in Dealey Plaza on November 22nd, 1963, yet they choose to pick the ones that made their story fit. From the start, the Commission had to find a way to put Oswald in the building and at that window at the time of the assassination.  So they needed to place Oswald in the building at the time, and find a way for him to leave the building. When someone told a different story then the one they had predetermined, they would deem this individual as being mistaken. Today, I want to bring about the statements given by Roger Craig.

In the early afternoon of November 22nd, 1963, Dallas Deputy Roger Craig was standing on Main Street close to Dealey Plaza. As the shots rang out, Craig followed the crowd that was heading up the grassy knoll. He had seen an officer heading into that direction and decided to follow suit. When they arrived they searched the area and were unable to find anything up there. As he was walking  back he encountered Arnold Rowland who was a witness that claimed he saw a man with a rifle on the sixth floor. Not only did he see a man with a rifle at the southwest corner ( Oswald was supposedly at the southeast), he saw another man on the sixth floor as well. Mr. Rowland pointed this out to his wife, and he constantly looked in that direction before the motorcade arrived in Dealey Plaza.. More on the Rowland story in another post, because there is much more to that story then I can fit.

So Officer Craig, listens to the man give his account of the scene and directs him to other officers that are in the area.  About 15 minutes after the shooting, Craig hears someone whistle. At this time he sees a man, that is slender in build, looks to be in his early 20’s running towards a station wagon. Officer Craig gets a good look at this man that is running down the grassy knoll and tries to get the license plate number of the vehicle. His initial reaction at the time was that,why would anyone be running away, when it seemed everyone was running towards the situation. As the scene is unfolding in Dealey Plaza, Officer Craig is told to head into the Texas School Book Depository.  While on the sixth floor, it was him and another officer named Seymour Weitzman along with another officer that find the alleged rifle that was used in the shooting. When the weapon was found, they were told to leave it alone until the identification team could have a look at it. Upon looking at the weapon Weitzman described the weapon as a 7.65 Mauser rifle, and Officer Craig thought the same thing at the time. It wasn’t until pressure from the Warren Commission that Weitzman changed his story. His initial statement to Dallas investigators was that it was a Mauser and he knew weapons from being in the Sporting Goods business.

It was not until later in the evening of November 22nd, that Officer Craig is able to figure out who that man was running down the grassy knoll. He identified him as Lee Harvey Oswald. According to Craig, he went into Police Headquarters to talk to Captain Fritz about what he saw in Dealey Plaza. When told, Fritz and Craig went into the room where Oswald was staying and Fritz asked Oswald about the station wagon. Oswald was quoted as saying ” leave Mrs. Paine out of this, she had nothing to do with it”. A little side note, Ruth Paine was the woman who Oswald’s wife was staying with, and where his rifle was located. At the time, she drove a light green station wagon like the one Officer Craig had seen that day.

So here we have an Officer who sees a man he believes his Oswald about 15 minutes after the shooting, get into a car and take off. The final determination by the Warren Commission was that Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository after the shooting, got on a bus, but when the bus got caught in traffic he took a cab into Oak Cliff. When Oswald was arrested, he had on him a transfer ticket from the bus he was supposedly on. Before November 22nd, 1963, Officer Roger Dean Craig was an outstanding and decorated police officer for the city of Dallas. He was awarded the Man of the year award in 1960 for his work in a jewelry thief arrest. But once word gets out about his talk of Oswald being on the grassy knoll after the shooting, he is quickly ridiculed by his fellow officers. They simple do not believe his story, and he is eventually forced out of the police department by 1967. There were many threats made against his life in the following years, and following being shot at and injured, and driven off the road in an automobile accident, Mr. Craig decided to end his life in 1975. Until the moment of his passing, he believed that the man he saw that day was Oswald.

I am not going to say whether or not I believe this story, but it would be hard pressed not to believe a decorated police officer, who from day one stated he saw Oswald after the shooting. His observations and that of other witnesses fell on deaf ears to the Warren Commission and although he was called in as a witness, Officer Craig’s statements never made it to the final report. The final report will never be final in the eyes of many, and it is stories like this and witness statements from that day which keep this flame burning. I along with everyone else just want to know everything that transpired that day.

Sources:

John F. Kennedy assassination homepage. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol6/page260.php

Simkin, J. (1997, 09). Roger dean craig. Retrieved from http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKcraigR.htm