Friday, 11/22/13, Public Square

Remembering November 22, 1963.

Kennedys Riding in Dallas Motorcade


Filed under The Public Square

31 responses to “Friday, 11/22/13, Public Square

  1. I remember sitting in my 5th grade classroom when our teacher – Mr. Wall – came in with a solemn looking face.

    He told us of the tragic news from Dallas. Most of us cried. But there were a few Republican farm kids that actually said – ‘good, one less Democrat’.

    That is the day I learned there really are Stupid, Ignorant and Hate-filled people in the world.

    The sad fact is -….in today’s political world – I have no doubt the Tea Party folks would react the same way if history were to repeat itself and Obama was the one assassinated.

  2. “If by a ‘Liberal’ they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a ‘Liberal,’ then I’m proud to say I’m a Liberal.”

    ― John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

  3. I watched a recent television show about the 50 most asked questions about the JFK assassination.

    There were two things that stood out in my mind…..

    1) The first words out of Jackie Kennedy’s mouth when her husband was shot sitting next to her was – they’ve killed my husband.

    I wonder who she meant by using the term ‘ they ‘?

    2) Jackie Kennedy made the deliberate choice to continue wearing that blood-stained pink suit throughout the rest of the day .

    The reason, you may ask?

    She said she wanted everyone to see her dress covered with blood and to know what happened to her husband.

    Can you imagine the horror of being there with your husband and then suddenly having his blood all over you and part of his brain in your lap?

    Politics is a rough and tumble world….but in today’s political world – I am afraid it is even worse than 50 years ago.

    What do you think?

    • It seems like the world changed after President Kennedy was assassinated, but I have to pause and remember I went from being a child to an adult at that same time. Change should have been expected!

      Of course the Vietnam war was escalated and that alone meant great change and especially for young adults of the time. As you, Indy, know better than most, we faced death.

      As far as politics being worse today, I don’t know. We all have the opportunities to see and hear more than we did then. If we pay attention we can easily see too much of the ugly under belly. I think it was probably there and just as ugly 50 years ago but we did things that made life nicer instead of spending time on all the things we wish weren’t there.

      One ‘for instance’ for me personally is seeing or hearing Ted Cruz on television or in the newspaper… That reprehensible human being makes my blood boil. I don’t need that so I try to avoid crazy cruzies. Life has much better to offer me than feeling angry.

    • Just a peek into that time that might seem to have been kinder, gentler, easier than today —

      Between May of 1955 and the Kennedy assassination in 1963, 16 persons called “Civil Rights Martyrs” by the Southern Poverty Law Center were murdered in racially motivated violence. Five were children. None were white until two, killed just months before Kennedy. Twenty four politically motivated murders happened between the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963 and Dr. King in 1968. Then, two months later, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

  4. I was a Junior in high school. At lunch we heard rumors. Back in those days kids didn’t leave school at lunchtime (well, not unless they broke the rules) but some had transistor radios so we heard a little. My class after lunch was Dr. Reid’s American History. He was the department head and had an office at the front of the classroom. His office radio was on, and the volume turned up so it was heard in the classroom. We quietly entered, sat down and listened. All the rumors were true. The announcement that school was dismissed was made over the intercom. The hallways were eerily quiet while we left for what turned out to be an early and a long Thanksgiving break. Just like this year, Thanksgiving was the last Thursday of the month and we left school that Friday early and didn’t return until Monday, December 2nd. I know a bunch of us watched the sadness unfold on our televisions.

  5. wicked

    I was in 7th grade and still a relatively “new kid,” having moved to a small town, where my mother’s family lived, the month before. The jr high was combined in the same building with the high school. We were in Mrs. Slater’s English class. (fnord, your dh remembers her, I’m sure. 😉 ) The loudspeaker came on with no announcement, only the sound of the news person on the radio, saying the President had been shot. Total silence in the room, as we listened to the report. I’ve never been in a classroom that was that quiet. If a pin had dropped, we would’ve shot out of our seats. I don’t know how long we sat there listening, before the bell rang for the next class. The halls were almost as quiet as that room had been. We were all in shock. When we moved onto the next class, World History or something along those lines, the teacher, Mrs. Willis was crying. By that time, many of us were crying quietly, too.

    I don’t remember any other classes after that, only Mrs. Willis and students crying. Afterward, I remember riding in the car with my mom to the “big city,” still listening to the radio. There were few words exchanged between us.

    The day of JFK’s funeral was a mandatory school day. Instead of going to classes, TVs were placed in nearly every room and probably the gym. We watched the news, the funeral and the whole thing. I think we were one of very few schools that mandated attendance that day. School officials felt we might not watch this period in history, if we were given the day off. I’m sure that for some, that would have been true.

    Six years ago, I was in Dallas for a conference. Our hotel was only a few blocks from Dealey Plaza and what was the Texas Schoolbook Depository, where there’s now the 6th Floor Museum. My room was on the 20th floor of the hotel, and from the window, we could see the plaza and the building. I took a picture from that window. I’d post a link, but it would blow my cover. 😀 I stood at that window often over the 5 days I was there and finally went down to the plaza. There are Xs painted on the street (Elm Street), where the shots hit their targets. In spite of heavy traffic, I ran into the street with my camera and snapped pictures of those Xs. Now I’m wondering what happened to those pictures. Sadly, I didn’t have time to go through the museum. Next time. With lots of tissues.

  6. I was in 8th grade Math class, having just returned from lunch (unlike fnord, our junior high had open lunch and everyone left for lunch, as there was no school lunch program). While awaiting reentry into the building, late arrivals to the group reported the “shots fired” information and some of the details (taken to Parkland, etc.) they had heard. A few of my classmates were tardy, and the teacher refused to believe their explanation of why, writing out detention slips for them. Teachers were called to the office, and upon their return to class, the announcement was made that President Kennedy was dead. School was dismissed at the end of 5th hour and Thanksgiving break was started a day early. I remember bad weather and four days in front of the television following.

    • Wichita Heights was still a county school back then and we had a cafeteria staffed by excellent cooks — moms and grandmas — who made great meals, including those yeast rolls I can still smell and remember fondly. Fewer teenagers had cars back then and Heights was in the middle of nowhere so most kids rode buses, or carpooled with Mom driving. A very few drove their own cars. I wonder how they managed to mobilize all that transportation that Friday when we were dismissed earlier than usual?

  7. My husband reminded me of something today……..Jack Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy worked for Civil Rights – even as far as to have Alabama Governor George Wallace openly defy President Kennedy.

    Then we had Ted Kennedy – who worked for health care for all Americans.

    Wow – Civil Right and Health Care……those two issues are hot button topics in the current Republican Party – aren’t they?

    But in what context in the view of these Republicans?

    These are the folks who want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act and have even stacked the Supreme Court Justices into gutting the Civil Rights Act…..

    And – let’s not forget – these same Republicans are working tirelessly to deny certain fellow Americans their right to vote.

    The Kennedys were known for working for ALL Americans…

    and Republicans are known for working AGAINST their fellow Americans.

    What a Contrast – huh?

  8. When John Kennedy was assassinated that day 50 years ago…..the country was at a fork in the road – IMHO.

    And – sad to say – I think the country took the wrong way….

    Then another time the country came to a major fork in the road – when Ronald Reagan used Jerry Falwell and his Fundies to smear the good name of President Jimmy Carter.

    Reagan won…….and I think the country took the wrong road again..

    Hmmm…..Kennedy was dead – LBJ went full guns into Vietnam.

    Reagan was always looking for the next war……..but Reagan did even more damage to the country – IMHO.

    Reagan started this insane worshiping of corporations and the act of making money meant more than the act of people treating their fellow Americans with dignity and respect.

    Two big moments in time…..that this country got on the wrong track….IMHO

  9. My sister still has the picture of Caroline with her pony on the White House lawn.

    My sister is 4 years younger than me and she always thought that Caroline Kennedy was just the girl next door and she wanted my mother to invite Caroline over to play with her.

    My mother wrote a letter to the Kennedys and told them that her little girl would like to invite Caroline over to play one day.

    To my mother’s surprise ,……that picture was in the mail and was addressed to my sister – in care of my mother’s name.

    My sister was so proud of that picture…

    Caroline grew into a very lovely woman and I suspect she has her father’s touch for politics – and her mother’s touch for the fine arts and cultured things in life.

    Caroline has done her family proud…..IMHO

  10. I found this link to President John F, Kennedy’s speech that he was going to give in Dallas on that fateful day.

    This is a speech that was never given…..but read through this speech and I think you will agree with me – we need this speech given every day until our current politicians get it through their heads…..

    President Kennedy came from a very wealthy family – but he knew that America is only as strong as ALL of her citizens.

    Pay close attention to the last part of this speech where President Kennedy talks about how America needs to live what it preaches when it comes to equal rights and social injustice.

    These issues are still with us today….are they not?

    • When I think of John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy – my mind automatically goes to the ‘what if’ game…..

      What if……..our country had followed the lead of John F. Kennedy and built on his optimism and hope for the future?

      What if…….our country would have finally settled the issue of civil rights – and not have the Southern Democrats turn into Southern Republicans when President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964?

      What if……our country would have kept our war machines out of Vietnam and followed Kennedy’s outlined plan that was in his speech – that he was never given the chance to deliver that day?

      It sounds like Kennedy believed in diplomacy – and helping countries with our foreign aid.

      But he believed in more than just those two things.

      He also believed in our country doing the right and moral thing and through that strength – other countries would see us and want to follow our example.

      That is true strength…..IMHO. We do have a lot of war weapons…..but are we really strong if we have fellow Americans who cannot even feed their families because of below-living wages and/or no jobs?

      What good is the strongest military – if our leaders turn a blind eye to the suffering of all Americans?

      I’ve said this before……John, Bobby and Ted Kennedy came from a very wealthy family….but they all understood the same basic truth in life…

      Every person deserves to be treated with dignity, respect and we all have our own special talents and gifts to offer.

      Just because we are not all millionaires….does not make us unworthy to exercise our right to vote……or to have access to health care.

      • I’ve a belief, from research, that the only reason the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted was the assassination of JFK. Prior to his death, there was solid opposition in both parties to the Act, and it took all LBJ’S arm twisting ability to get it through the Senate. I would like to think I’m wrong, but have seen no proof.

      • wicked

        JFK rejected Operation Northwoods.

      • Yes – you’re right. I think President Johnson even stated at one time that they needed to pass the Civil Rights Act in memory of President Kennedy – or that was what I just heard from some pundit.??

        But……if John and Bobby Kennedy had not pushed the Civil Rights – like when they nationalized the National Guard and sent them in when the black students went in the front door of the Alabama University – which touched off the fury of Gov. George Wallace = then would Lyndon Johnson had the political drive to continue to push the Civil Rights Act?

        And didn’t Johnson say as he signed the Civil Rights Act that he was giving the Southern States to the Republican Party?

        President Johnson had his good points and his faults – but he was an old-time politician that knew how to play hard ball……

        So, this Civil Rights Act must have been important enough for him to continue to push through…..even all the while knowing that he was handing the Republicans a lot of new voters on a silver platter.

        John Kennedy’s assassination woke up the country to a reality …….and I think it shook the nation to its very core.

        Maybe that is why all the great movements throughout history seem to have their leaders lose their lives so tragically…and so early on ….during their life’s work?

        For example – Martin Luther King. He was another great speaker of Civil Rights and what happened to him? Gunned down by an assassin’s bullet.

  11. Here is a group of photos of the Kennedy family at Camp David. Caroline’s pony – Macaroni – is also featured in some of these photos.

    The pictures of John Jr. in that helicopter seat are priceless…….but a little sad when I realized that John Jr., and his lovely wife, lost their lives while flying.

    In each of these photos – one thing stood out…….this was a real family and they looked like they adored their children – didn’t they?

    Then my thoughts went to our beloved President Obama, his wife Michelle and their two beautiful daughters.

    The Obama family seems to be the very same kind of loving parents that truly adore their children.

    Of course, Obama also was that young man, good looking, that won the presidency on the idea of optimism and hope for the future.

    And – yet again – our country has folks that would rather spend their lives in a 24/7 hatred of their president – rather than to work towards that common goal of how to make and keep America strong.

    There are a lot of similarities between John Kennedy and Barack Obama.

    How fitting that Caroline Kennedy was one of the first to endorse Obama back in 2008 – remember?

    Maybe one day – our country will finally get it through our collective heads – we’re all in this together and we had better find a way to find common ground and stop this insanity of what I see and hear happening every single day from Foxxies Hen House and Hate Talk Radio.

    • My….my….my….

      Manufacturing a reason to go to war????

      Now where have I heard that being tried before….and successfully, I might add..

      I would rather have a President Kennedy than a President George W. Bush surrounded by those war-mongering military generals – wouldn’t you?

      • This might be a good place to restate what I read in Kennedy’s last speech that he never gave…

        It is time our country lives what it preaches.

        In what possible way does it make America a moral and strong country when it is learned that we allow military leaders and politicians to start any damn war they want?

        I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis – my parents were scared to death.

        But….didn’t this teach Kennedy a lesson about putting too much trust in his military generals?

        Perhaps that is why…….Kennedy was a target for assassination?

        He would not play the game……..IMHO

  12. No president has ever been perfect…… and no president ever will be perfect.

    But I would much rather have a President Kennedy than a President George W. Bush in that seat of power.