Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years Ago

On Friday, November 22, 1963, the United States of America and the world were shocked when they learned about the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Kennedy was in Dallas, Texas promoting what was slated to be his campaign for the presidency in 1964 and had chosen to ride in a convertible vehicle with an open roof in order to reach out to the people. Unfortunately, this would set up his immediate, but tragic demise. The death of John F. Kennedy, who was just 46 years of age, was one of the few times within the last fifty years that shook the country to the point that a drastic change would come about due to such an event. The other event being September 11, 2001, in which suicide planes crashed into the World Trade Center and ultimately resulted in conflict with Iraq. Indirectly and in more ways than one, conflict came about from the Kennedy assassination, but it also came with plenty of questions...

The man that was responsible for the majority of the bullets shot at JFK was Lee Harvey Oswald, who would inevitably be arrested and was ready to be tried for the murder of the president. While heading to his case, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. On one hand, this act could have been due to fury of the president's assassination (in the way of "an eye for an eye"). On the other hand, the murder of Oswald could have been a cover-up. Oswald deemed that he was just "a patsy" and the evidence came about with his own murder. The question at hand is: Did Lee Harvey Oswald solely assassinate JFK? It's very hard to stand by the point that Oswald was in fact the lone shooter.

Many of other groups and individuals were connected to the assassination. This ranges from the mafia, the FBI, the Cubans, even Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson is connected. Kennedy and Johnson did not see eye to eye, but the ticket was created in order to level out their areas (Kennedy's Massachusetts to Johnson's Texas) and provide them with a vast range when it came to winning the election. Kennedy, unlike most political figures, disagreed with the notion of being in Vietnam and was taking steps to backing out. Soon after Johnson was sworn into office (immediately on the plane ride back to Washington D.C.), he sent more troops into Vietnam. The Vietnam War was another attempt at opportunity that began during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration, continued into the Kennedy administration, escalated during the Johnson administration, and came to a head during the Richard Nixon administration where it ultimately died down before ending during the Gerald Ford administration in 1975. People constantly ask that if Kennedy had lived, would America stayed in Vietnam as long as they did? There are strong inclinations that this would not be the case. There may have been other issues that brewed in the process with other countries, but interference with Vietnam could have ended and the takeover would have occurred sooner. Vietnam seemed to be an opportunity for the political figures during that time, so involvement was within their interest. Whether or not this had to do with Johnson wanting to eliminate Kennedy from office could not be determined, but we do know that the view Johnson had with moving forward was not the same as Kennedy's. Recent studies from a FOX News special point out how the bullet that caused the death to Kennedy was not shot from Oswald's gun, but from a county building. The information behind the shooter was not provided.

John F. Kennedy was not a favorite president of mine. Some of the decisions he made with regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs Invasion seemed to show less assertiveness when it came to foreign policy. The two best traits Kennedy had and made him perhaps the most notable president of the 20th century were his charm and his ability to move crowds by being a great public speaker. When running against Nixon in the 1960 election, he visibly presented himself much better, even if he didn't possess knowledge like Nixon. This allowed him to go forth with winning the presidency in what was a brief, but notable era. Among his foreign policies, he also developed the Peace Corps and had his hands in civil rights (for black citizens). It would be Johnson, however, that got the credit for signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and go on to become the champion of being the man that ended segregation in America (according to federal law). His speeches, along with his brother Robert F. Kennedy, are always powerful to listen to, which I have taken the opportunity to do whenever I found the moment. He always had a message that he presented very passionately, whether I agree with it or not.

I am going to leave you with two powerful videos that relate to JFK. One of which is the powerful, poignant report that Walter Cronkite gives, struggling to keep his composure as he reports the death of the president. The other, a more positive notion, is how JFK discusses his intention to send a mission to the moon and how he not only wants to accomplish such a task, but accomplish it before any other country. This notion shows an incredible amount of passion for America.

Cronkite's Report:

Kennedy on Space Race:

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