THUNDER BAY – United States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963. The chilling words, “From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: ‘PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED AT 1 PM (CST), 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago” – That was the sad and iconic message reported by Walter Cronkite, the news anchor from CBS News.
The Zapruder Film Stabilized
The assassination on November 22nd happened while President Kennedy was riding in a motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas. The President was hit in the neck and head by bullets. President Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital where he was declared dead.
The terrible event was captured by Abraham Zapruder on a Super 8 Movie Camera.
It was a moment that for millions of people where the world seemed to stop. People remembered for the rest of their lives where they were when they heard the news of the shooting of President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally.
It is also a moment when the sheer horror of the event changed history. The young President’s death has spawned many conspiracy theories on exactly who was involved, and who actually killed the President.
Even today, years later, and after the release by President Trump of many of the previously sealed documents still has many Americans doubting the findings of the Warren Commission the official report and investigation into the assassination.
The shooting happened in Dallas Texas, and the alleged assassin arrested a short time later was a disaffected former Marine, Lee Harvey Oswald.
The arrest and steps taken by the Dallas Police that day have helped to fuel conspiracy theories.
Ever since that fateful day in Dallas, there have been many who firmly believe that the assassination of JFK was a conspiracy, and that there were others involved. There are many resources to examine to determine what the facts are, however a majority of people in the United States believe President Kennedy was killed as a result of a conspiracy.
President Kennedy Assassination Media Coverage
The first CBS reports of the shooting were filed by Walter Cronkite, in audio only as studio cameras were not warmed up. In those days, the large television cameras needed a significant amount of time to warm up before going on the air.
“Here is a bulletin from CBS News. In Dallas, Texas, three shots were fired at President Kennedy’s motorcade in downtown Dallas. The first reports say that President Kennedy has been seriously wounded by this shooting. More details just arrived. These details about the same as previously: President Kennedy shot today just as his motorcade left downtown Dallas. Mrs. Kennedy jumped up and grabbed Mr. Kennedy, she called ‘Oh, no!’ The motorcade sped on. United Press says that the wounds for President Kennedy perhaps could be fatal. Repeating, a bulletin from CBS News, President Kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in Dallas, Texas. Stay tuned to CBS News for further details.”
Shortly after, Cronkite read another statement, this time live on the air. “From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: ‘PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED AT 1 P.M. (CST),' 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago”.
The murder of President Kennedy was also a moment when across North America, there was a fundamental shift in how news was covered. Television coverage of the event was extensive. It was really the first time that television supplanted newspapers as the major source of news for the public.
Oswald or a Conspiracy?
Through movies, the Internet, online talk shows, the debate continues over who was involved in the murder of the President.
Oliver Stone’s JFK pointed to involvement by the CIA.
A book by Roger Stone points at President Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson as the likely culprit in the assassination. In an interview with Tyrel Ventura, the son of former wrestling superstar Jesse Ventura, Governor of Minnesota, and host of Conspiracy Theory, Roger Stone outlines his case that the murder was planned by a very desperate Vice President Johnson to head off criminal investigations against him.
With all the documents which have been released, and with all the time that has passed, it is difficult to say if the full story will ever be told.
Having travelled to Dallas, and visited the Texas Schoolbook Depository, where the Sixth Floor is now a museum and the apparent sniper’s nest is preserved behind glass, what struck me was just how small Dealey Plaza really is in size. If the shots came from the Sixth Floor they were not long distance shots.
The rifle claimed by the Warren Commission as the murder weapon was an in-expensive Italian military rifle. It was equipped with a scope with a cheap mount that would have easily been bent either when hidden after the assassination or even in handling.
A visit to Dealey Plaza puts you back in time in many ways. There is an ‘X’ painted on the roadway where the fatal shot hit, and killed President Kennedy.
There are people present daily offering their opinions, and selling pamphlets outlining their views.
The death of President Kennedy was seen by many as the end of a shining era. The President and his beautiful wife and young family were darlings of the American media and millions of people around the world.
Since the death of the young president, for many an era ended, and through the rest of the 1960s, the United States slide into protests and other assassinations. Martin Luthur King Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert Kennedy, the President’s younger brother were assassinated. Protests against the war in Vietnam and then followed by protests against President Richard Nixon.
President Kennedy was only in office for about 1000 days. It was an era that changed America and changed the world. Many wonder what our world would have been like today had the assassination in Dallas never happened.
The world will never know.
What we do know is that our world did change that day.