Monday, November 18, 2013

Recollections of JFK’s Assassination…

My dad sent this around the other day and I asked him if I could share it with you. He said ok.

Below are a few of my recollections on this occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Death of a President, JFK.

I watched part of a documentary on the JFK assassination last night, November 13, 2013, one that focussed on how the story was handled by the press, especially Walter Cronkite.

The Narrator suggested that this was the biggest story of the 20th Century or made some other hyperbolic comment.

It was big and remains big, but what about WWI and WWII, etc.

Fifty years.

I had lunch on November 22, 1963 with two friends at a restaurant named Lincoln's Inn.

One was Dan Rezneck, who, like me was an Assistant U.S. Attorney. 

Dan had actually promoted my application for the position, one that I enjoyed immensely. 

It was heady to get up and announce that I represented "The United States of America."

The other person at the lunch was our contemporary, Jack Rosenthal who was the Press Spokesman for the Department of Justice, Robert Kennedy, Attorney-General.

We discussed politics, Bobby Kennedy, etc.  Typical Washington talk.  We had no idea.

After lunch I returned to the U.S. Attorney's office and one of my colleagues, Tony Lapham, who was in the hallway told me that the President was dead.

A thought too large to wrap with my mind.  I had seen JFK once in a large room at Harvard Law School, when he was campaigning for the Presidency.

When he was inaugurated I was at the U.S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School, Yorktown, VA. 

I had limited free time so  during lunch break I went  to the television room and listened to his stirring inaugural speech.

Washington was covered with snow and was bitter cold, as I saw on TV.   I was 150 miles away and it was cold. 

I was the only person in the room watching the Inauguration. 

I thought that was odd, as my military colleagues certainly had bright and interested individuals.

I think that my subsequent Commission as an officer may make reference to JFK or perhaps bore his signature. 

Later, I was moved by his call to come and serve in the government.   I doubt that was the only reason that I came to D.C. 

After I completed my military commitment, I did not return to San Antonio  because I thought that the prospects for finding a Jewish young woman

to suit my eccentricities were greater in the East, but that did not occur until eight years later.

In any event, during that night of November 22, 1963, I was staring into the White House grounds when the helicopter brought LBJ as the new President.

Two days later or so, when the casket was moved from the White House to the Capitol Rotunda, I was on the sidewalk outside the U.S. Courthouse  near Pennsylvania Avenue watching the procession, the riderless horse, the gun carriage bearing the body.

I went to the Capitol Rotunda at 2 a.m. to view the casket and persons were lined up for blocks waiting to do the same. 

I think that an acquaintance with a press pass got us in ahead of the line, not an egalitarian gesture.

Views of JFK as President, his accomplishments, his character and behavior, have changed over the years. 

During those three days, I was bereft.

The killing of Oswald, surrounded by law enforcement officials, by Jack Ruby viewed on live televicsion was astounding.

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