Tuesday, November 22, 2011

JFK: Another Anniversary

Every year on November 22, people gather in Dallas, Texas to remember John F. Kennedy.

They've done so ever since 1964, and the first anniversary of his assassination. The remembrances are held in Dealey Plaza, the scene of the crime, and began spontaneously; there was no need to organize. For years they were attended by Penn Jones, Jr. (at right, in cap), who always led a moment of silence in JFK's memory.

I've been to a number of these ceremonies since 1996. In 2008 I even had the privilege of speaking at one. My remarks from that day are at the end of this post.

The assassination's 50th anniversary is still a few years away, but some are already looking ahead. The half-century mark may well be a turning point in this saga. Kennedy’s murder is not within the memory of most Americans. And most Americans no longer care.

That minority who do are broadly divided into two camps: those who recognize an obvious conspiracy, and those who, publicly at least, say they don't (though in their heart of hearts, I think even these deniers all know).

It is with great skepticism that many in the former camp are viewing certain preparations now underway for November 22, 2013. “We have reserved Dealey Plaza for that date,” Nicola Longford, Executive Director of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, told the Dallas Morning News in October.

The intrusion by any institution into these remembrances is not a good thing. With a single exception (1993, for an historic landmark dedication) they have always been unofficial: something of the people, by the people – and for JFK.

Longford added that the museum's 2013 ceremony “will be ... dignified and appropriate.” This implies that previous events have not been dignified.

Granted, there have been excesses in years past, though not necessarily by anyone within the research community. But most have been tasteful.

More to the point, they have been necessary.

With this in mind, I present, on this 48th anniversary, a sampling of comments made at Remembrance Ceremonies over the last fifteen years, as documented by Yours Truly.

“The research community that I’ve worked with since the 1960s has essentially solved this case,” said John Judge (left), of the Coalition on Political Assassinations, in 1996. “That solution certainly involves the highest levels of military and intelligence organizations in this country. It’s not a mystery.”

“The land you're standing on here today, no less than Gettysburg or the Little Bighorn, is a battlefield, in a war, truly, for the soul and the future of your country,” Charles Drago said that same year. “Form your own judgments – keep your own counsel – hear all sides – but understand one thing to the exclusion of all others – that conspiracy in the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is historical fact.”

“We know the truth,” declared writer George Michael Evica (left), also in 1996. “And [we] will tell the story of that truth, here where he died, and in our councils and conferences, and in the years beyond, through the turn of the century. Because we remember JFK and his death, and his life, and of the meaning of that life and death, we now bear witness, in our voices, here in Dealey Plaza, where an unrested spirit is still with us.”

In 1997 Kerry McCarthy, JFK’s cousin, spoke in Dealey Plaza (below). “His loss is to be mourned, his life to be celebrated, his examples to be emulated, and his murder, someday, to be solved,” she said. “Today ... we can be assured that the hope that we felt in the early 1960s truly did exist ... the challenges that my cousin hoped to face still call out for leaders of integrity.”

John Judge echoed those remarks a year later. “What was assassinated here that day was not just a particular man, or a particular president, but a sense of hope by the American people.”

Also in 1998, author Philip Melanson observed: “If the vast majority of us in the public believe that this case is an unsolved conspiracy, who are the minority in officialdom to deny us the truth, and to cling to the lone assassin theory like it was a religion, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?”

Which brings me to my own remarks, delivered in 2008. They are presented without the requisite quotation marks or further elaboration:

The writer Ambrose Bierce once defined truth as an ingenious compound of desirability and appearance.

I think that is also a fitting description of the government’s account, and most media accounts, of President Kennedy’s assassination.

This is the forty-fifth time that citizens from this city and state, and from around the country and around the world, have come to this plaza to remember John F. Kennedy, on the anniversary of his death.

About 200 people were here to remember President Kennedy in 1964, on the occasion of the first anniversary. Among them was an Oklahoma woman named Shirley Martin. Mrs. Martin was a great admirer of JFK. She said it was hard for her to be here, where the president had died, but she felt it was her obligation. She also felt an obligation to find out who really killed her president.

Shirley Martin was among a handful of Americans who read not just the Warren Report, but also the Warren Commission’s 26 volumes of supporting evidence – all in an effort to learn the truth. In that endeavor, Mrs. Martin was in a tiny minority. But like those of us gathered here today, she was in the majority of Americans who have never accepted that one lone nut shot and killed John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Government accounts of JFK’s assassination have all been ingenious compounds of desirability and appearance. But they have not been the truth.
The Moment of Silence, 1997 (Photograph by Mike Blackwell – RIP)

                                          The Moment of Silence, 1996


  1. Thank you John, VERY WELL DONE,the deniabilty that some still carry on with today, 48 years later, is a part of Not for the PEOPLE ..the majority that is..well said, kudos..b

  2. Pure baloney. The evidence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt Oswald did the deed. Conspiracy theory is paranoia beyond the norm. It's typically underground where it belongs.

  3. The post beginning "pure baloney" is itself pure baloney. Should the writer of that remark read this reply: I challenge you to back up your remarks with facts. There are no facts proving Oswald "did the deed," as you put it.

  4. Mr. Klein, let's be candid shall we? If LHO himself appeared and said "I did it" you conspiracy folks still wouldn't accept it. You accept NO facts Mr. Klein. That is why you're a conspiracy theorist. Facts mean nothing to you. Common sense and interpretation of facts mean nothing to you. I can cite the facts of this case but for what purpose? Those of your ilk simply ignore facts.

  5. Anonymous must remain anonymous and submit the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, without recognizing that if Oswald was the assassin, patsy or had anything at all to do with the murder, then the assassination was the result of a covert intelligence operation and not the work of a lone nut. Thanks for your insightful thoughts, John, and all the work you have done, as Mr. Anonymous should read it and learn the truth. Bill Kelly JFKCountercoup.blogspot.com

  6. Well Mr. Kelly, in reality I've studied the case for some 45 years. I'm always amused when one of you folks claims "the assassination was the result of a covert intelligence operation and not the work of a lone nut". Conspiracy by definition would involve as few people as possible. But not to those in the JFK crowd of kooks. Simply astounding. Is it no surprise many if not most JFK conspiracy people also believe deeply that most of America's significant events were also conspiratorial? It's a bias Mr. Kelly. It's never supported by actual evidence. Hence, I chuckle at you folks. Most historians do.

  7. The comments by "anonymous" are almost amusing. Let's be candid, he says – and then follows up with an utterly unsupportable assertion! The purely hypothetical "If LHO himself appeared and said 'I did it'" etc etc.

    You accuse me, anonymous, of accepting no facts. This implies that we know each other, yet you don't have the courtesy of signing your name, or spelling mine correctly. Moreover, you present no facts yourself – not because you cannot – of course you can! – but because, in your world-weary omnipotence, you profess to know what I think – to say nothing of "those of [my] ilk."


  8. To Bill – thanks for your comments.

  9. Indeed Mr Kelin. Apologies for the misspelled name. Supporting a conspiratorial position with no physical evidence is pure and utter hyperbole. I presented the LHO hypothetical as this is exactly what you folks have done for 48 years now. Hypotheticals. Mr. Kelin you are no different than the hundreds of other conspiracy authors. All have their very own "slant" on their version of the truth. I don't know your position nor do I care. You people can't agree with one another so you surely won't agree with me. That would require you to step back and see how foolish conspiracy positions are. I don't believe you're that enlightened.

  10. To review, then: you elbow your way on to my blog. Okay, it's the internet, a free forum, so I can't complain about that.

    You insult me, make a series of assumptions about me, throw out unsupported assertions, decline to back up those assertions, leave further rude remarks, present yourself as taking some sort of moral high ground, sign yourself "Anonymous," and vanish into cyberspace.

  11. But you do complain Mr. Kelin. Is that not what you're doing? I did not create this blog. You did. I make no assumptions about you whatsoever. You post videos of several people supporting a conspiratorial position. Do you not? Are you saying you are supportive of the very position you attempt to document so thoroughly? Why not simply tell the readers of YOUR blog what exactly your position is. If I'm wrong I surely will apologize.