Thursday, November 21, 2013

When I Became a Democrat

It was during John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign.  I wasn't quite old enough to vote, but I became a Kennedy supporter, as did most of my friends at the University of Arkansas.  We were young and idealistic and Kennedy seemed to speak directly to us.  He seemed not that much older than I was, and I came to think of myself as a Democrat before I ever voted for one, and I have never looked back.

Three years later, it was all over. I was walking back to work from lunch at my apartment, and noticed that all the store windows on the square had television sets turned outward. I didn't realize what was happening until I got back to the Courthouse, where I was working, and learned that JFK had been shot, and no one seemed to know if he was alive.  When Walter Cronkite assured us that Kennedy was dead, I hurried next door to the Abstract office where I normally worked, and my boss told me to go home. He said the office wouldn't open again until after the funeral.

My husband and another classmate in the Law School had gone to Little Rock with one of their professors to do some research at the law library there. He called and said they had packed up their materials and were coming back home.  I paced the floor and watched the horror that was unfolding in Dallas, on television.

That entire weekend, friends came and went at our apartment, and some simply came and stayed, and we watched, horrified as, time after time, we saw our hero clutch at his throat and slump over into the arms of his wife.  We kept telling each other that it couldn't be happening.  But, it was.

We watched when, a day or so later, Lee Harvey Oswald was being moved from the Dallas jail to someplace where he would presumably be "safer."  We leaped to our feet and lunged for the television set, when Jack Ruby jumped out of the crowd of policemen and shot and killed Oswald.  Now, we would never know why Oswald took a $12.00 rifle and, miraculously, hit his target.

Today, we are still hearing the theories.  He acted alone. It was a conspiracy. There was more than one gunman.  People swore they saw him behind a fence on the grassy knoll on Dealey Plaza. Johnson did it. J. Edgar Hoover did it. The Mafia did it. Castro did it. The KGB did it.  Rose Kennedy did it. The CIA did it. Frank Sinatra did it. The theories never end. 

I know what I think.  But, who do you think killed Kennedy?

3 comments:

Arkansas Patti said...

That day is burned into the minds of those who lived through it. He was the first candidate I was old enough to vote for. He so appealed to the young. He was our hero.
The week that followed had an almost unreal yet inescapable feel of dispair.
My belief of Oswald's murder was that he was being shut up. Now we would never know the real story. I remember thinking as I watched Jack Ruby do his work, that the whole world had gone mad and that we were just a bunch of animals.
Sadly, the daily news tends to confirms that opinion.

patsy said...

I think Johnson was behind JFK.S DEATH.
MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID YOU LOOK AT WHO HAD THE MOST TO GAIN. JOHNSON!
JFK WAS IN TEXAS , JOHNSON COUNTRY. JOHNSON'S MISSTRIES EVEN SAID A YEAR OR SO AGO THAT LBJ WAS IN ON IT.

Big John said...

Many TV stations here in the UK have been showing documentaries about the death of JFK over the last few days and I must say that I found some of the relationships a little confusing ... The Mob .. Castro .. Johnson .. Hoover .. The CIA etc. etc.
I think that there could have been a conspiracy, but probably Oswald was just nutter, an ex-marine and, sadly, a very good shot !