Death in "Camelot"
Get the Point!
60 years ago today, the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Like most Americans their age, my parents used to recount exactly where they were when they heard the news; my father, then a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army, learned about it following a full day of drills at Fort Benning, Georgia. My mother, then a junior at Florida A&M University, still reminds that she had just got home from class and was watching her soaps that Friday afternoon when Walter Cronkite, somewhat ironically, broke into As the World Turns with news from Dallas (see below).
While I was born a little under a decade after this tragic event in American history, the Kennedy assassination has fascinated me most of my life, especially after I first saw footage and still photos captured by Abraham Zapruder which clearly showed the fatal shot to the president's head forcing his entire torso backwards and into a final slump next to his terrified wife, First Lady Jackie Kennedy (Onassis).
Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, shown climbing on the presidential limo to reach First Lady Jackie Kennedy, later testified that Mrs. Kennedy was collecting pieces of her husband's head and brain as the limo sped to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Long before Oliver Stone's classic film JFK hit the big screens, or before Robert Dallek's classic, An Unfinished Life, hit bookshelves and coffee tables across the country, millions of ordinary Americans were already highly skeptical that Lee Harvey Oswald was the actual assassin of the 35th POTUS, as the Warren Commission would later conclude. That skepticism was one of the first fissures in a lingering break that remains to this day, one in which government, in general, and government officials, specifically, could not (and cannot) be fully trusted.
Indeed, within a decade of Kennedy's murder, further fissures would break via the news media, whether it was the revelation of the U.S. government’s syphilis experiments on unsuspecting Black men near Tuskegee from the 1940’s to the early 1970's, to Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal circa 1972, to later issues such as Ronald Reagan's Iran-Contra scandal, Bill Clinton's dalliances with Monica Lewinsky, George W. Bush's mendacity about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" as a pretense to war in Iraq, all the way to Donald Trump's lingering lies that the 2020 election was stolen, the innocence that once led most Americans to take the words of their elected leaders as the Gospel vanished with Kennedy's last breath on November 22, 1963. Further diluting this naive innocence was Kennedy's alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald's own televised death two days later at the hands of Jack Ruby—a man with Mafia ties who somehow got close enough to the man suspected of killing the president to shoot him at point blank range—and a Warren Commission that clearly concluded that Americans were either too stupid or too infantile to be told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the coup that led to JFK’s demise 60 years ago in Dallas.
The world may some day learn how Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner with Mob ties, just happened to gain entrance to the Dallas Police station and shoot Lee Harvey Oswald (above) in a room filled with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials…
As an eternal optimist, I do believe that some day, hopefully in my lifetime, the full and complete FBI and CIA files on Oswald, Ruby, and countless other shadowy figures will be released so that the world will fully know why Kennedy was killed 60 years ago. Until then, lest we forget the evil that lurked (and lurks) in the minds and hearts of some people in America that’s so pronounced, that not even heavily guarded government leaders are safe from their deadly machinations…