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November 22 1963 ~ 50 years on from the day the Kennedy dream died

November 22, 2013

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Commuter blues: New Yorkers devour the news their President has been assassinated on the train home on November 22 1963 – a day none of them (nor anyone else) would ever forget

Few momentous events in history have been more talked about, relived, analysed and obsessed over than the assassination of John F Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, in Dallas, Texas, on November 22 1963 – 50 years ago today. Who killed him and why? Was it Communist-sympathiser-with-a-grudge Lee Harvey Oswald from a window of the Texas School Book Depository (whom himself was oh-so dramatically shot dead just two days later in a ‘retaliatory’ attack by nightclub owner Jack Ruby)? Or was Oswald a ‘patsy’ and the real murder the result of an elaborate conspiracy involving any one and more of the CIA, the FBI, the Mafia, the KGB or even Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson? Quite frankly, who knows? The odds, surely, are we never will.

Yet this post, as respectfully as it might, isn’t about any of that. Its aim is to mark – both pictorially and with TV clips from the day (the legendary footage of CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite confirming the news to America and ordinary New Yorkers’ surprisingly considered reactions just an hour or two after hearing the news) – the event itself, trying to capture the tone, atmosphere and stark reality of the tragedy that occurred that day and, for a few days longer via Oswald’s murder and the state funeral, blanketed the US and the wider world in shock and grief, the haunting shadow of which has never really diminished.

There’s an undoubted sadness and darkness that fills one’s heart when they properly re-enter the world of November 22-25 1963, and this blog doesn’t often make it its business to evoke the likes of that in its posts. Yet the assassination of the bright, shining ‘prodigal son’ of the highly ambitious, utterly glamorous, near-royal but tragically cursed Kennedy clan that was John Fitzgerald Kennedy (or JFK, as he’s more often, somehow sharply referred to since his death) is an unquestionable momentous game-changer of 20th Century history.

For it (maybe unwittingly) ushered in the anxious, unsettled, confusing era of the United States’ real 1960s (Vietnam, social liberation, counterculture, generational disconnect and, eventually for the better, Johnson’s wide-sweeping civil rights legislation) and – for its times – was the equivalent of what 9/11 was for its people today: the moment their nation ‘lost’ its innocence. A lightning bolt through the heart of a young, optimistic, dynamic yet divided nation and the rubbing out of its brightest star – it was the day the Kennedy dream died…

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John F. Kennedy's funeral in Washington D.C. November, 25 1963

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. mohan permalink
    December 5, 2013 7:37 am

    thanks George ……even though there was an onslaught of material out there recently on JFKs passing ….it was still a joy to go through your montage of pics, vid and repost 🙂

  2. December 13, 2013 4:53 pm

    Thanks, mohan, appreciate your comment and the fact you got something out of this post – wanted to try and do something a little different (something personal and yet comprehensive if possible) in marking the Kennedy anniversary…

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