50 Years Later: Recalling the JFK Assassination and Aftermath

It was a typical Friday morning in Hawaii when I went to work subbing for the 25th Administration Company mail clerk on November 22, 1963. The regular clerk had taken a leave to New York. I was only 19 and was in sixth month of service in Hawaii.

When I heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot, on a Honolulu radio station I informed the company commander, who didn’t know about it yet.

Meanwhile, the regular postal clerk was flying standby to New York, but was detoured through Dallas, so his plane arrived in Dallas about the same time, that President Kennedy had been shot.

I can’t remember much else about that day, but do remember almost seeing Lee Harvey Oswald being shot in the Dallas Police station on November 24, 1963. I was on my way to the day room to watch television, when I was told about Oswald being shot minutes earlier.

A couple of days later we marched in a memorial parade for President Kennedy on the parade grounds. It was a time I will never forget, knowing that we had lost our president.

50 Years Later

Fifty years will have passed on the 22nd of November of 2013, since the day President John F. Kennedy was slain on a Dallas street.

The Warren Commission convened a few months later and after hearing many witnesses, their consensus was that a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald had shot and killed the president.

Many witnesses that were there, or knew information about the assassination have died untimely deaths over the years. It is my personal opinion that so many witnesses dying, before they could testify tells me there was a conspiracy to keep the world from ever knowing the details of what went on that Friday in Dallas fifty years ago.

Hundreds of books have been written about the JFK assassination in the last fifty years. Some of those authors say that the assassination was the culmination of a nefarious plot by various agencies, of the government conspiring to have the president killed.

Other authors have refuted all the conspiracy theories and steadfastly stand by their assertion, that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Two Other Killings That Weekend

President Kennedy was shot about 12:30 Dallas time, but it wouldn’t be the only death that weekend connected with the assassination. We will follow the timeline for that weekend, to better show how all three killings occurred and when.

It was only eight minutes later at 12:38, when the president arrived at Parkland Hospital. Lee Harvey Oswald had exited the Texas Schoolbook Depository building five minutes earlier at 12:33. However, Dallas police officer Marion Baker verified with Roy Truly, who was the building superintendent that Oswald was an employee, before he was allowed to leave the building. If Baker had held Oswald and brought him to the police station, then it may have saved the life of Officer J.D. Tippit.

1:00 PM – The president is pronounced dead after being given his last rites at Parkland Hospital. Governor John Connally, who had also been wounded in the assassination had two emergency surgeries that day.

The scene where Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit 39, was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald or someone that looked like Oswald at 1:15 PM on November 22, 1963.

1:00 PM – Oswald arrived back at his boarding room and 15 minutes later killed Officer Tippit, who had seen Oswald walking and stopped his patrol car to question him, then was shot and killed by Oswald at 1:15 PM.

13 people reportedly saw Oswald or someone looking like Oswald shoot Officer Tippit. Oswald then proceeded to walk to the Texas Theater and entered without paying.

1:40 PM – The clerk at the ticket window called the Dallas police.

1:50 PM – The police attempt to arrest Oswald, but he resisted arrest and tried to shoot a patrolman and punched another patrolman before being taken away to the Dallas Police station.

From 12:30 PM – 1:50 the president of the United States had been assassinated, taken to Parkland Hospital and died at 1:00 PM. Oswald had in that same time had allegedly shot the president, was confronted by Officer Baker and exited the Texas School Book Depository building. He had taken a bus, then a taxi to his boarding room, then left walking down the street, until he was stopped by Officer Tippit, who Oswald shot and killed. He then was arrested inside the Texas Theater. All of this happened in a time frame of 80 minutes.

Cronkite First Television Newsman To Report Assassination

Walter Cronkite of CBS was the first national television newsman to report the assassination at 12:40 Dallas time, with an audio only report, since camera was not ready to transmit video, only 10 minutes after the fatal shots had been fired by the sniper. It would be 1:00 PM, before the CBS cameras were operational.

Flight Back To Washington

Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president  of the United States, aboard Air Force One at 2:38 Dallas time, which was two hours and eight minutes, after the shots had rang out at Dealey Plaza. President Johnson insisted on Jacqueline Kennedy being in his inauguration, which to me seemed to show he was more concerned about the way the ceremony looked, than considering the feelings of the wife of a dead president.

Newly sworn in President Lyndon Johnson arrived in Washington at 6PM Eastern time and 5PM Dallas time, so in a matter of four and-a-half hours President Kennedy had been assassinated and died 30 minutes later in Parkland Hospital and the new president Lyndon Johnson had landed at Andrews Air Force Base.

Oswald at the Police Station

Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit at 7:05 Dallas time on Friday. It would be 11:26 PM, before Oswald would also be charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Two days later at 11:21 on November 24,1963 Dallas time Oswald would be shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police station, preventing a country in mourning, from still not knowing 50 years later, if he was the lone gunman or was like he said a patsy, set up to take the blame for the assassination. Ruby took that chance of knowing away from us that Sunday, as he became judge, jury and executioner.

Ironically, Oswald died 2 days and 7 minutes after the president’s death had been announced and both had been taken to Parkland Hospital.

Warren Commission Report

President Johnson was determined to show there was no conspiracy involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, so rushed to set up a commission to study the assassination. To me it was a whitewash job, but that is just my opinion. The Warren Report was on the president’s desk about 10 months after the assassination.

50th Anniversary Events

With the approaching 50th anniversary of the assassination even more books have been written about that day in November fifty years ago.

Just going to Amazon.com and searching JFK Assassination will bring up many books, that already have or will be released later this year. One book in particular sparked my interest.

A Rose By Many Other Names: Rose Cherami and the JFK Assassination is a book about the lady who knew ahead of time that  the JFK assassination was going to take place. She was traveling to Dallas with two men, who were driving to Dallas to assassinate the president. They became angered at her and threw her out of the car. She was run over by another car and told authorities, about their plan to kill the president in two days.

Apparently nobody believed her when she said she was going to Dallas to pick up her baby, sell some drugs and assassinate the president.

One reason for my interest in Rose Cherami is that she was traveling through Louisiana, when she was hit by the car.

The Warren Commission apparently glossed over her story and don’t think it even was mentioned in the Warren Report, but would have to check to make sure.

The following article tells more about her connection with Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald, both of whom she claimed to have seen together in Ruby’s nightclub:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKcheramie.htm

These are some of the books about the JFK assassination that have been or will be released before November 22:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=JfK+assassination

There is also a TLC documentary that will be airing closer to the assassination anniversary named “Letters To Jackie”. A few of the 800,000 notes of condolence will be read by Hollywood actors and actresses.

Parkland is a feature movie, that was produced by Tom Hanks and will recount the JFK assassination. It will be released on October 4.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2345112/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Legacy of Secrecy movie should also be released before the 50th anniversary of the assassination, but no release date is listed at imdb.com as of today. It was adapted from the book Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the Kennedy Assassination written by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann. The authors claim that Carlos Marcello confessed to being one of the conspirators in the Kennedy assassination.

http://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Secrecy-Long-Shadow-Assassination/dp/1582435359

I am currently reading Killing JFK: 50 Years, 50 Lies: From the Warren Commission to Bill O’Reilly, A History of Deceit in the Kennedy Assassination. The book is written with the intention of debunking 50 lies that have been made about the Kennedy assassination. It is a very readable book, that will keep the attention of most JFK assassination aficionados. There is only one review of the book, since it was released in August. Reverend Dr. Lance Moore is the author and once was a professional rock guitarist.

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-JFK-Commission-OReilly-Assassination/dp/1492248177/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379447333&sr=1-1&keywords=Killing+JFK+50+Lies

One of the most seen photos of the last fifty years, as Jack Ruby steps in and shoots Lee Harvey Oswald as policeman James Leavelle watches..

James Leavelle the policeman who walked with Lee Harvey Oswald into the chaos on the Sunday morning of November 24, 1963 two days after the assassination and saw Jack Ruby shoot Oswald, who would die a few hours later.

James Leavelle is shown at the age of 91, but now is 93 as we remember the assassination of President John F. Kennedy fifty years later.

Summary: Jack Ruby has made a lot of people rich, by not letting the American people know exactly how Lee Harvey Oswald wound up in the sniper’s nest in the sixth story of the Texas Schoolbook Depository building. Ruby by silencing Oswald caused thousands of books to be written about the assassination. There are some that think, that Oswald didn’t even fire the fatal shots that day and that a professional marksman may have fired the actual shots. Some books have even claimed that Mac Wallace the personal hitman, for Lyndon Johnson fired the shots from the school book depository. However, that is just another of the many questions not answered to the satisfaction of those who long, to find out what happened on that Friday in November 50 years ago.

We may not ever know exactly what happened fifty years ago on November 22, unless the government releases all the documents which have been held for all these years, but we may never know if any of the key documents have been destroyed to prevent us from ever knowing the rest of the story. There may be a smoking gun in a file cabinet somewhere in Washington, that would blow the lid off the case, but it seems the government is intent on any information that may incriminate government officials and/or agencies will remain sealed.

Personally, I think President Johnson with the assistance of government agencies and the underworld was the mastermind behind the assassination. It is a problem for me, that he ducked down behind the seat, when his limousine reached the killing zone, before the first shot was fired, so he would be out of the line of fire.. Even more puzzling is why he would not tell his wife what was about to happen leaving her at risk and still waving at the crowd. Johnson reportedly ordered  President Kennedy’s limousine to have the top down for the motorcade, which made the assassination possible.

The assassination of President Kennedy was one of the biggest news events of my life. The only news event that had more of an impact were the 9/11 attacks, since 3,000 lives were lost, instead of the three that died during the assassination weekend. I was born three years after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, but my older brother was born less than two months earlier on October 11, 1941.So I missed being alive for three of the biggest events in the history of the United States.

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Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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