“We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will ‘talk sense to the American people.’  But we can hope that fewer people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is nothing but just plain nonsense.” — John F. Kennedy, from a speech prepared for delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas November 22, 1963

“We now have authority to shoot Obama, i.e., to kill him.  His willful violations and alienation of our Constitution, constant disregard for our peaceful protests and corruption of all the three branches of government, (i.e., rogue and illegitiimate government), reveal the dictator that he is.  Obama and his co-conspirators disrespect our Constitution (constitutional rule of law) and abuse the American people.  The authority to kill Obama comes from the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution: He is levying war on the United States and aiding and comforting our foreign enemies — the 2nd Amendment gives us the right and duty (authority) to engage an enemy of the United States that does so with the design to reduce us under absolute Despotism.  I would be very surprised, if Obama does not leave Washington DC today (Nov. 19th) …never to return, if he is not dead within the month. PLEASE JOIN US AT CHRISTIAN AMERICAN PATRIOTS MILITIA: https://www.facebook.com/groups/417199228403274/” — From a photo posted on Facebook by Everest Wilhelmsen November 19, 2013

John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Nov....
John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The question has been asked so often since November 22, 1963, and it will be asked a countless number of times today alone:  Where were you when JFK was shot?

I don’t remember exactly where I was or what I was doing when the news broke, but I can guess with decent accuracy that I was in my hometown of Salmon, Idaho.  I was only 1,008 days old at the time, far too young to know or understand what was happening in the larger world around me.

Last weekend, I asked my 82-year-old mother what she remembers from that date that joins others in American history living in infamy.  Her memory isn’t what it used to be, but she did say, “I just remember wondering why they’d do something like that.”

I don’t exactly know when JFK’s death entered into my conscience.  Perhaps I came to appreciate its significance more not quite five years after he was gunned down when his brother Robert was assassinated in Los Angeles while on the campaign trail for the presidency in 1968.

Through the years, my interest in JFK has grown immeasurably.  Through the years, I’ve often wondered:  What would this nation be like if John Kennedy had lived to finish his presidency?  All we are left to do is wonder about that.

Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on...
Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much promise and hope was wiped out in an instant.  We’ve all seen so much speculation since Kennedy was slain.  His killing has been the model for conspiracy theories.  Was Lee Harvey Oswald a lone gunman, or did others lurk on the grassy knoll or under a manhole cover?  Was Jack Ruby part of a scheme to keep Oswald from spilling the beans about a sinister plot?  Was it a coup, part of that military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned against just before he left office?  A mafia hit?  Part of some plan Cuba had to get even for any American plots to assassinate Fidel Castro?  Was Lyndon Baines Johnson a part of it?  On and on, and we have to wonder if the absolute truth will ever be known or believed by everyone.

I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but even I have to look at the Zapruder film and wonder why — if the shots all came from behind — the fatal head shot made JFK move backward instead of forward.  The mystery is intriguing.

America was not a perfect nation long before Kennedy came to power.  Kennedy himself had his weaknesses, although back in his day his personal indiscretions were overlooked a lot more than they would have been today.  But what Kennedy brought in his time in office, through his eloquent words, was a sense of innocence.  He brought a sense of idealism.  It was perfect for the time — much like the innocence that was shown in one of the television programs that was interrupted by the news of JFK being shot 50 years ago today, “Father Knows Best.”

It was as close to being an American dream as we could get.

At 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time, on November 22, 1963, after the presidential limousine turned from Houston onto Elm Street in downtown Dallas, that sense of innocence was lost.  So far, we haven’t gotten it back yet.  With the current political climate — including threats made via computer over social media by yahoos like Everest Wilhelmsen of the Christian American Patriots Militia — it seems we are far from ever getting it back.

Will we ever learn?  Or are we destined to live through the same kind of horror that Americans and people around the world experienced at 12:30 p.m. CST, 50 years ago today?

Perhaps that sense of innocence that was felt during JFK’s presidency was buried along with him, marked by an innocent gesture — a little boy saluting his fallen father.

KENNEDY John F. Kennedy


2 thoughts on “The end of innocence, 50 years after the fact

  1. I can’t believe that someone would post something like that! Everest Wilhelmsen of the Christian American Patriots Militia should be arrested for treason & intent to do harm to our President. To think he could associate himself with a Religious organization and post such hatred & lies is ridiculous.

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