11/22/63: What Does It Mean to You Now?

calendar with November 22nd circledDear Reader,

It seems difficult to talk about November 22nd without thinking of November 22nd, 1963, and very difficult to think of November 22nd, 1963 without mentioning the John F. Kennedy assassination, and almost impossible to mention the assassination without bringing rise to the conspiracy theories. Starting right out in 1963, polls revealed that 52% of the U.S. population believed that Lee Harvey Oswald was not the only one involved in the killing. In 2013, polls reveal that number has increased to 61%. (It’s peak was around the years 1976 and the early 2000s, in which 81% did not believe in the single-shooter theory.) The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations stated that they believed there to be a conspiracy involved. This was not the only conspiracy created. I tried researching to see if there was a list of all the conspiracy theories. There are at least twenty established conspiracy theories that I found, but researchers who have dedicated far more energy and time than I have into this case, like author Vincent Bugliosi, have linked roughly 42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 possible suspects involved. Of course, these are just figures that might have been involved. Theories that deal with why such figures were possibly involved might stretch on to infinity.

It would make a difficult argument to suggest that the public has not been fascinated with the JFK assassination. Over twenty films and 2,000 books have been created on the subject. The amount of TV programs and specials may very well equal or top the amount of books written. (Or, that is, I haven’t found a list that names all of the programs about the JFK assassination, since that would require starting in 1963 and tracking fifty years worth of television. Just for the month of November, I found a list of 37 programs on major networks that have aired or plan to air specials about JFK.) YouTube shows 1,090,000 results for “jfk assassination” and Google, not to be beat, has 294,000,000 results.

It seems obvious to suggest that part of the fascination with the Kennedy case is that, by many accounts, it is unsolved. To only suggest that the Kennedy case is relevant because it is unsolved would be an insult to the legacy that John F. Kennedy left. For better or worse, his presidency was significant at the time of election and afterwards (whether or not you agree with the choices he made in office is a different thing). In the American culture, Kennedy and his assassination have been firmly planted in history. On a personal note, though, I am curious as to what you, the reader, think about the case. This is a question for people from all countries and cultures. If you were alive at the time of the assassination, what did it mean to you then? What does the assassination mean to you now?


Jumbled Writer

*Photo Courtesy of todayifoundout.com.


22 Responses to 11/22/63: What Does It Mean to You Now?

  1. I was three for the coup d’etat/ritual killing. My only memory is watching adults cry in front of a TV set while John John saluted the casket. As a child growing up, I watched the lie worshipped as a mystery on countless TV documentaries. Last year I penned this short poem “Magic Land” after reading only a hand full of books on the subject, having been programmed by TV that the assassination was, and always will be, a “mystery”.

    Why not read some books or watch “Evidence of Revision, Part 1” posted in “Must See Movies” on my blog. Turn off the TV for several weeks, let the eyewitness testimonies embedded in the movies settle into your psyche, or turn the TV back on and say to yourself something like, “It was so long ago, what can I do?”. That was the tact taken by many who have gone before, only to discover that steel buildings collapse from jet fuel fires after an hour or so. LOL.

  2. I believe Oswald acted alone – after reading Killing Kennedy. With O’Reilly’s resources and research – he doesn’t appear to really go with theories much. But to ere is human so they say. I was a little girl and I remember my dad even cried (well, there were tears in his eyes). JFK – in more modern times is one of the few effectual/do something presidents actually helping people and not just blowing smoke. It’s such a shame he died so young.

    • Indeed, Kennedy was only two years into his office at the time of death. Many believe that Kennedy was a symbol of hope for America and that he was really going to turn things around. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I ran out of steam on the assassination at an early age (16 years old). As we drift further and further away from 1963, it only becomes a matter of discussion fodder. Nothing constructive will ever come out of this from here on out. What if we did find that there was a conspiracy? Those are deathbed confessions.

    It comes down to me preferring to look at more pressing issues like why the stock market is at 16,000 with little to show for it in the economy? That’s more concerning to me than if Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

  4. Hi JW,

    Thanks for your writing and for opening the floor to thoughts. I remember the day quite well while sitting in my 6th grade classroom as the school principal made the announcement over the intercom. As one who has lived during the ensuing times, it’s quite clear to me all the negative changes that have occurred since, some rapidly, some more insidiously incremental, which have their roots in that day.

    In respect to your curiosity of thoughts, with your permission, I’ll merely echo here a portion of what I offered in a different post:

    “You may wonder why one might have any real interest in an event of 50 years past? The reason is that MOST of what troubles us today links directly to November 22, 1963. Many will say that it’s a ‘dead’ issue; I say precisely the contrary. It’s very much alive and the logical progression of events stemming from that act is now about to consume all of us.

    “. . . The longer we ignore the most obvious aspects of John Kennedy’s assassination, and leave it unresolved, the closer we approach our own, unavoidable reckoning.”

    • You are not alone in that belief, and there are facts that support it. Certainly American society has changed from how it was fifty years ago. I do believe that history does provide the foundation from which to grow (or decline). You can’t get to step C without having gone through A and B. Thanks for writing.

  5. I was 20 months old on November 22, 1963, so I’m fairly useless as a witness to that stretch of history. Was there a conspiracy to murder JFK? That question has always been more interesting to me than the answer. I’ve never seen any compelling evidence of a cabal. Castro. Soviets. Mafia. My sense is that if the truth is other than “Oswald acted alone” – we may never have convincing evidence of it.

    From this vantage point fifty years hence, the Kennedy assassination looks like an incendiary bomb that ignited a decade of unprecedented violence in American society. From the extreme racial hatred and the fight – the bloody fight – for civil rights. To the war in America over the war in Vietnam. To the war between the generations – has there ever been a wider gulf between parents and their children than in the 60s? Sex. Drugs. Rock ‘n roll. America was a modern Tower of Babel. We weren’t all speaking the same language anymore.

    Thinking back to 11/22/63, I can’t help but turn around and look forward to what would soon follow. John. Bobby. Martin. These men all had their failings, as men do. But their passionate politics were taking America in a startling new direction. I don’t know if they were murdered by madmen or by dark conspiracies. It’s clear that the murders of these charismatic leaders changed the trajectory of the future of our country. Their deaths imparted powerful momentum to the progressive movements they led – so their ultimate victories had to be celebrated without them. We lost them. But they won the future, in so many ways.

    • Since Kennedy’s assassination, America has undoubtedly turned into a very different image. As you say, the violence out in the battlefields and at home could be felt. Yet the Kennedy family has left a strong impression on the political culture that will not soon be forgotten.

  6. Yesterday afternoon, radio personality Hugh Hewitt had an interesting interview with Uwe Siemon-Netto about the conspiracies created by the US Media. He covered the assassination as a journalist for Germany’s largest newspaper, and was astounded that the American media jumped to the irrational conclusion that Oswald was part of a right wing conspiracy when there was no evidence for it.

    Siemon-Netto’s take was that because Oswald was a failed marine, a disgruntled and deranged Marxist, he needed to make up for his losses . Prior to the assassination, Oswald met with reps from the USSR, Cuba, and some folks in South America, but there’s no direct evidence that the KGB or anyone put him up to it. He was a rabid nutcase.

    One of the things that bothered the American public about JFK was that he was Catholic, and it was a big deal: Would this young charismatic guy take direction from The Vatican? He didn’t. (The same attack was used by the left in 2012 against Mitt Romney, a Mormon.)

    There’s no question that JFK despised socialism and communism, and although his foreign policy was dangerously inept, his understanding of fiscal policy was sound, and by lowering taxes was able to produce an economic boom that continued for years. John Kennedy was the last of the conservative Democrat Presidents.

    Now that the Democrat Party has been infiltrated by socialists, progressives, liberals, Marxists, or whatever they call themselves today, when will the US voters wake up to what’s going down?

  7. Speaking as a non-American – a Scot – AnElephant is saddened most of all by the fact that there are those who seek to change the path of democracy by assassination.
    Whether Kennedy or Reagan, this is alien to his most basic beliefs.

  8. not to trivialize the subject, but when word came of the shooting, i was hanging posters on the Occidental College campus for an up-coming concert with a young woman i was interested in – or fascinated by. When we heard the news, we separated and headed for our respective dorms. Now when the assassination is mentioned, I think of her, and the fact that I never had the nerve to ask her out. And that later when I found out who she married, I was like, OMG, she married him?!? She was the first-chair cello and I always had a thing for cello players.

    • The day all means different things to us. I think it is important that we be honest about what it meant, rather than try to fit our opinions into a more conventional viewpoint. I am glad that you gave your perspective. Sorry things didn’t go the way that you had hoped. College love can be rough.

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