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JFK: Fifty Years Later

President John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy ride with secret agents in an open car motorcade shortly before the president was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

On November 22, 1963 at approximately 12:45 PM CST I was on my way to a Manufacturing Management class on the campus of Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. A fellow student approached me and gave me the news that all classes were suspended because President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.

I headed for the student sub where there was a black and white 25-inch TV where we heard Walter Cronkite announce that the president had died at approximately 1:05 PM CST.

The Sixth Floor Window Where Oswald Shot at The President

Lee Harvey Oswald is alleged to have fired three shots from a window on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository Building in Dallas Texas. What ever happened to this window? In 1969 General D. Harold Byrd who was the owner of the building at the time had the window removed. As one might expect he had the window framed and hung it in his mansion for all to see.

There was only one small problem. It was the wrong window according to Aubrey Mayhew who was the later owner who removed what he thought was the right window. Both windows ended up on eBay but most experts think that Mayhew’s is the correct window. Windex anyone?

The Kennedy Secret Files

Most of the information surrounding the Kennedy assassination was sealed for a number of years until related parties were dead. Currently about 97 percent of government documents have been declassified. The remaining 3 percent of the documents will be declassified in 2017 unless the future president decides to extend the classification.

Who Shot JFK?

We all know who shot JR Ewing in the Dallas TV show that was popular in the 80’s. Who shot President Kennedy is not as easy to discern.  Conspiracies theories abound about who shot JFK and was there some kind of government cover up?

In the 1960’s Khrushchev and the Russians were suspected, later it was the CIA that was under the microscope in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s many dying mobsters claimed responsibility and many others think it was an inside job by the federal government going as high as President Lyndon Johnson. As with many things there is no way to prove for sure that Oswald was the lone gunman. That would have easily been the trial of the century had Jack Ruby not shot Oswald. The evidence presented against him and the jury deliberation would have been very interesting.

Some Final Thoughts

The 1960’s were a volatile time in our history. Assignations of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King along with the Kent State shootings shot fear through the populous of that time.

As with September 11, 2001 most everyone remembers where he or she was when hearing the news from Dallas. It was a turning point in the history of the United States. Music, news, dress, and attitude all changed. Was it for the better or worse? Even after 50 years the jury is still out. Will we ever know the true story of that day in Dealey Plaza? We will never know how the Kennedy administration would have played out. Maybe it hasn’t yet.

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