Tag Archives: Warren Report

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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Why we still care..

It has been nearly two months since I wrote my last post on this website due to many reasons. The main reason for the lack of posts, is because I have now entered into my graduate program with a focus on American history. I am hoping that by being able to get a better understanding of how history was written and talked about generations ago, I will in turn, be a better writer and researcher myself. My goals are to be able to find research and tell it in a way that shows people, things they may have not known before. The purpose of this site is not to try and figure out exactly who killed John F. Kennedy, but it is to inform those who may be new to the research. Along the way, I have found some new research that I have shared and I have repeated some of the research by others. The assassination is a moment in time where everything stopped for a moment, and it is up to the research community to tell the story of what happened. We may all have different opinions as to what happened that day in Dallas, but we can agree that it changed our history forever. I myself, is continuing to push forward and looking for material that others may have overlooked or their voice was just not heard loud enough. Below is a sample of what I have been writing in my class, and of course the focus is on John F. Kennedy. It is not the typical assassination research, instead it is about learning the history of the research itself.

Throughout time, there have been many moments that have been cast as life-changing, but few of them can compare to the events that transpired on November 22nd, 1963. For the people that remember the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated it was not only a day that changed the course of history but also a day they would never forget. The assassination of the President of the United States had occurred 3 times prior to 1963 and yet the void the nation felt from this assassination had not been felt since the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865. The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the biggest moments of the 20th century and yet today it still remains an unsolved crime to some. The historiography of the assassination has taken many different turns in the 50 years that have past and many historians have taken their shot at figuring out the unofficial “Crime of the Century”. Although the authorities singled out the man they thought was the assassin, the general public seems to think that a larger plot was involved in the assassination. History has shown us over time just how the nations opinion on this manner has changed.

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For the young readers of today’s generation, it is important for them to understand that the assassination of President Kennedy changed the shape and course of our nation. The Vietnam War was not a war yet, man had not been on the moon, and African-Americans were not given the freedoms and equality in the Civil Rights Act. These specific events were all things that were on the agenda of President Kennedy before that day in Dallas and our history as a nation changed from that day on. Many Americans look back to the Kennedy assassination as a turning point in our nation and that is why after all of these years it is still a topic that is mentioned and talked about today. Learning about what actually happened during those last few moments on Elm St. in Dallas has evolved over time and each author brings their own version to it.

The official story of the events that day are that one lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald was able to assassinate the President of the United States with a high powered rifle from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. In December of 1963, President Lyndon Johnson appointed a commission to look into the details of the assassination and to come up with a conclusion. The report, named The Warren Report (based on the commission’s leader, Earl Warren) concluded that in fact Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Since the day, the Warren Report was released the history of the Kennedy assassination began to take on a life of its own. Many authors and researchers were giving their opinion on the manner and over the years countless books have been written about the assassination, whether they believe the Warren Report or whether they believe someone else committed the crime.

When published in 1967, Rush to Judgment by Mark Lane was received with mixed reviews. Our trust in government was fading through the events that were happening in the decade, and the full truth about the Kennedy assassination was still a topic of discussion. When the Warren Report was released in 1964 many Americans believed that version of what happened that day in Dallas. It was very common to believe what the government was telling you was nothing but the truth, and with the assassination of a President you would hope the truth would be told. In his book, Lane examines countless witness testimony that was left out of the final report by the commission and determines that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald was the true assassin of the President that day. By describing the other key witnesses to the crime, he is able to break down a timeline of events that shows that Oswald was not alone in this plot.
The book has become a cornerstone for future researchers to look back upon. The research done by Mr. Lane was groundbreaking at the time and to go against what the government had said about the assassination was even bigger. The book has led to many more researchers to give their own version of the assassination. To this day the Kennedy assassination is still a highly debated topic with more Americans believing that more than one person was involved in the assassination plot. For once was a strong opinion of a lone gunman, has turned to a “whodunit” mind frame. The conspiracy theories have carried on over the years and Mr. Lane is still right in the middle of all of them because of the work he did back then.

This is just a sample of some of the papers that I have written in my class and I hope to continue to write about the assassination in future classes. Although some of the information is repeated, their is still plenty of materials that have yet to be looked at. In the coming months I will continue into the research of the Acme Building Maintenance Company and its owner Frank C. Jones and to get a more clearer answer as to what happened to the company that had keys to the Texas School Book Depository the night before the assassination.

Sources

Bugliosi, Vincent. Reclaiming history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2007.

Company, Inc. The official Warren Commission report on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1964.

Lane, Mark. Rush to judgement: a critique of the Warren Commission’s inquiry …. Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications, 1967.

Salinger, Pierre, and Sander Vanocur. A tribute to John F. Kennedy,. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1964.

Photo Courtesy of rgs6 via flickr.
HDR Photo of Texas Book Depository