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A Personal JFK Remembrance
Townhall.com ^ | November 21, 2013 | Cal Thomas

Posted on 11/21/2013 8:10:13 AM PST by Kaslin

My parents voted for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election. I had not yet developed a political worldview, but as a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., I stayed up late to watch the election returns slowly trickle in before going to bed at 2 a.m. with the outcome still undecided.

The following year I was hired as a copyboy at NBC News, delivering wire service "copy" to news reporters in the network's Washington bureau. White House correspondent Sander Vanocur invited me to accompany him to observe the swearing-in of Adlai Stevenson as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

President Kennedy was there. It was the first time I had seen a president in person. My mother had told me about visits she and her parents had made to the White House when Calvin Coolidge was president, but this was something new for me.

After the Eisenhower years, my impression of the man was similar to that of many others: Kennedy looked so young.

Two years later on the way to work, Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, I stopped at a traffic light on River Road in Bethesda, Md. It was 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. A bulletin interrupted the music I was listening to on the car radio. President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. My first reaction was to roll down my car windows and shout to other motorists, "The president has been shot!" I then raced to the bureau where it was controlled chaos for the next four days.

The 1960s are often called the "Golden Age" of broadcast journalism. One reason is that the networks were composed mainly of men who were writers with experience at newspapers or wire services. Some had reported on World War II. They became my mentors. Working alongside them was my master class.

On that unforgettable day, as I was reviewing the Associated Press wire coverage, I saw something I had never seen before. "Flash," the bulletin read, "Kennedy seriously wounded, perhaps fatally, by assassin's bullet." Flash was a designation reserved for only the most catastrophic events. The time on the wire copy was 12:39 p.m. Central Time. Less than an hour later, there was another "Flash." "President Kennedy Dead."

I saved copies of the wire bulletins and tucked them neatly inside the book "Four Days," a historical record of President Kennedy's death. Re-reading UPI White House Correspondent Merriman Smith's reporting from Dallas with the limited technology of the time is a testament to what great journalism once looked like. His stories are in the book.

Also included in "Four Days" is an essay by the late historian Bruce Catton whose words written just weeks after the assassination cut through a lot of the analysis and gets to the true legacy of this personally flawed, but fascinating man: "What John F. Kennedy left us was most of all attitude," he wrote. "To put it in the simplest terms, he looked ahead. He knew no more than anyone else what the future was going to be like, but he did know that that was where we ought to be looking. Only to a certain extent are we prisoners of the past. The future sets us free. It is our escape hatch. We can shape it to our liking, and we had better start thinking about how we would like it."

Ronald Reagan would embrace a similar futuristic outlook.

What followed Kennedy's assassination was an era of growing and more expensive government, race riots, the divisive Vietnam War and social disintegration. It was not the hopeful future Kennedy envisioned, but Bruce Catton's words remind us we can always start over by using the future as an "escape hatch.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: americanhistory; assassination; jfk; johnfkennedy; journalism; kennedy

1 posted on 11/21/2013 8:10:13 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

So.....so-called conservative columnist Cal Thomas bought the Camelot Cool-aid.....nothing but tripe and trumped up envisioned performance of a man killed by an assassin’s bullet. You can’t read anything in beyond that date in history. Coulda shoulda woulda...


2 posted on 11/21/2013 8:15:17 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Gaffer

blah, blah, blah


3 posted on 11/21/2013 8:19:39 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

My Grandfather voted for Kennedy in Chicago. He died in 1959.


4 posted on 11/21/2013 8:24:19 AM PST by Michael.SF. (I never thought anyone could make Jimmy Carter look good in comparison.)
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To: Gaffer

Gaffer, maybe you can enlighten us with your reading comprehension skills and point out where in the article that Thomas PERSONALLY praises Kennedy? Because he quoted a writer who wrote about Kennedy looking to the future? Conservatives don’t look to the future?

Thomas’ piece is far more about yearning for the days when journalism was rigorous, not ideological.


5 posted on 11/21/2013 8:28:53 AM PST by LRoggy (Peter's Son's Business)
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To: LRoggy

Not ‘’ideological’’? What do you call Edward R. Morrow?


6 posted on 11/21/2013 8:34:41 AM PST by jmacusa (I don't think so, but I doubt it.)
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To: LRoggy
Well, LRoggy, the following sentence perplexed me:

Ronald Reagan would embrace a similar futuristic outlook.

Odd, seeing as how he was talking about the prior paragraph - his assessment of the meaning of the other writer's words. Basically, this sentence shows he subscribed to the ideas put forth in the prior paragraph.

To confirm this, he asserts the future intentions deemed by the writer as TRUE......

So...my reading indicates agreement and verification with IDEOLOGICAL asserts in Thomas' 'rigorous' review.

7 posted on 11/21/2013 8:35:57 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

‘LBJ’ and precinct 13 in Tejas helped steal the 1960 election for ‘JFK.’
Any Kennedy worshippers, I got your conspiracy right here ...


8 posted on 11/21/2013 8:36:21 AM PST by tumblindice (America's founding fathers: All armed conservatives.)
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To: Kaslin

Yeah...it is....just like all the JFK Anniversary stories and those strainingly connected with it.


9 posted on 11/21/2013 8:40:21 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin
was an era of growing and more expensive government,

I think the word a conservative would have used is expansive.

10 posted on 11/21/2013 8:40:29 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: Kaslin
I was six years old and playing in our house when my older sister ran through it yelling that President Kennedy had been shot.

At the time, I did not realize the US only had one president at a time because the news also talked about President Eisenhower and President Truman and now President Johnson. I thought JFK, while young and glib, was just another government leader.

My two enduring memories of that weekend was the newspaper headline in the largest possible font, taking up 2/3rds of the front page which said simply:

PRESIDENT
SHOT; DEAD

I also remember that all my Saturday morning cartoons were cancelled on every tv station, pre-empted by wall-to-wall news coverage.

11 posted on 11/21/2013 8:48:33 AM PST by OrangeHoof (Howdy to all you government agents spying on me.)
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To: Kaslin
What followed Kennedy's assassination was an era of growing and more expensive government, race riots, the divisive Vietnam War and social disintegration.

So, is RINO Cal suggesting that Kennedy getting plugged caused all of this?

12 posted on 11/21/2013 8:51:54 AM PST by Arm_Bears (Refuse; Resist; Rebel; Revolt!)
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To: tumblindice
‘LBJ’ and precinct 13 in Tejas helped steal the 1960 election for ‘JFK.’ Any Kennedy worshippers, I got your conspiracy right here ...

And I've got your well-earned "My memory is crap" award right here.

The election LBJ stole was the 1948 race for Texas Senate. Texas was as blue a state in 1960 as it is red today. LBJ did not need to steal Texas. They won it handily.

What you *might* be thinking of is Illinois, where JFK eked past Nixon with the alleged help of the unions and the Mob (at least the Mob sure thought they won that election for JFK and expected him to back off investigating them).

13 posted on 11/21/2013 8:53:12 AM PST by OrangeHoof (Howdy to all you government agents spying on me.)
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To: Gaffer
We're looking at things 20 - 50 years later ....

I was 15 when it all went down and THIS Boston boy knew only another Boston guy had been elected President and now was murdered.

I couldn't and didn't digest it all for many years.

14 posted on 11/21/2013 8:53:54 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: OrangeHoof

I was a kid living in New Orleans when a neighbor announced (to no one in particular) “Someone has gone and shot the SOB dead!”


15 posted on 11/21/2013 8:55:26 AM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: knarf

This Georgia boy saw the same things as you. He, however, was able to listen, read, and find out the truth about the man without commiserating about being from the same city.

Yeah, that’s harsh, but being from the same locale is no reason for ignoring all the hereafter facts and revelations.


16 posted on 11/21/2013 8:56:21 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Arm_Bears
So, is RINO Cal suggesting that Kennedy getting plugged caused all of this?

Not that I can see. He is saying that JFK projected an America full of hope and optimism, similar to Reagan although the details may have been far different.

What actually happened after the assassination for the rest of the decade reflected little about hope and optimism.

I think JFK would have been dismayed to see what America became in the 1960s the same way Reagan would have been dismayed had he been able to understand what America is like under Obama.

17 posted on 11/21/2013 8:59:14 AM PST by OrangeHoof (Howdy to all you government agents spying on me.)
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To: Gaffer
No problem with your statement ...

MY point is; I never analyzed ANYthing for years.

When did YOU do all your academic gymnastics ?

18 posted on 11/21/2013 9:03:13 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: Gaffer

“Well, LRoggy, the following sentence perplexed me:
Ronald Reagan would embrace a similar futuristic outlook.

Odd, seeing as how he was talking about the prior paragraph - his assessment of the meaning of the other writer’s words. Basically, this sentence shows he subscribed to the ideas put forth in the prior paragraph.

To confirm this, he asserts the future intentions deemed by the writer as TRUE......

So...my reading indicates agreement and verification with IDEOLOGICAL asserts in Thomas’ ‘rigorous’ review.”


Since when does looking to the future end up being ideological?

We all bow down to you, our purity expert on how conservatism thinks! /sarc


19 posted on 11/21/2013 9:04:47 AM PST by LRoggy (Peter's Son's Business)
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To: OrangeHoof

I was eight at the time and playing marbles with friends when my 2nd grade teacher ran down, with tears in her eyes, said ‘They’ve killed the President’, she ran to groups of other kids and gave the same message. We continued our marble game.


20 posted on 11/21/2013 9:05:12 AM PST by Foundahardheadedwoman (God don't have a statute of limitations)
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To: OrangeHoof
LBJ did not need to steal Texas. They won it handily.

All those extra ballot boxes handed in at the last minute sure did help.

Best book on the LBJ vote-strealing is: "A Texan Looks at Lyndon" by J. Evetts Haley.

21 posted on 11/21/2013 9:05:13 AM PST by Slyfox (Satan's goal is to rub out the image of God he sees in the face of every human.)
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To: Michael.SF.
Michael.SF @4: "My Grandfather voted for Kennedy in Chicago. He died in 1959."

Your grandfather probably has been voting the straight party ticket since then. The Chicago Machine appreciates your grandfather's loyal voting record over the past half century and looks forward to his support for the next half century.

22 posted on 11/21/2013 9:11:13 AM PST by Carl Vehse
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To: LRoggy

Your attempt at a rebuttal is rather limited.

Nobody asked you to believe what I wrote. You can take it or leave it. I really don’t care what you think and I’ll leave it at that.


23 posted on 11/21/2013 9:11:34 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: knarf

I’m not trying to come down on your for being from Boston or not being aware throughout all these years. My apologies if you felt that.

I can only say that my gut told me, don’t ask me how, that all that post-assassination and handwringing right after and for so, so many years afterward(continuing today still) was pure BS, and that stuff that followed was/is nothing but revisionist dreaming (lies).

So, in answer to your question, I never really bought it at all, so there wasn’t any real gymnastics required - only reading further confirmations from places and sources that weren’t holding back the truth.


24 posted on 11/21/2013 9:16:39 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Foundahardheadedwoman

Your teacher’s statement always makes me wonder who “they” were, at least in her view. I was about your same age (3d grade, 8y/o) and we had just returned from our lunchtime break where we were allowed to go home. I’d heard the first info on the local radio station while eating and saw TV bulletins before returning to school. A friend in class had returned with a small transistor radio and that was the source of the announcement in class. And, yes, my teacher and all the girls were crying but the guys couldn’t figure that out.


25 posted on 11/21/2013 9:16:44 AM PST by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: Kaslin

Looks like there was a big donation to Obama from the Kennedys recently.

Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel to be free on bail while prosecutors fight granting of new trial

By Associated Press

Posted: 11/21/13, 12:11 PM EST |

STAMFORD, Conn. >> Kennedy cousin and former Greene County resident Michael Skakel was granted bail Thursday and expected to be released from prison while prosecutors in Connecticut appeal a ruling giving him a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley.

Skakel, the 53-year-old nephew of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, Ethel, touched his hand to his chest and looked back at his supporters in the courtroom, his brothers among them, as the judge set bail at $1.2 million. He has been in prison more than 11 years on a sentence of 20 years to life but was expected to b


26 posted on 11/21/2013 9:25:03 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Kaslin

Rush discussed how the Democrats started the conspiracy theories not long after and up to and including today because they do not want nor will admit that the shooter was a Communist Leftist and nothing more.


27 posted on 11/21/2013 9:28:43 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Gaffer
No problem ... the guy's dead and quite frankly, I lean more to conspiracy than not.
28 posted on 11/21/2013 9:43:11 AM PST by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: Slyfox
Actually, Kennedy carried Texas by less than 50,000 votes:

Kennedy: 1,167,932
Nixon: 1,121,699

29 posted on 11/21/2013 10:50:39 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: OrangeHoof; tumblindice
What you *might* be thinking of is Illinois, where JFK eked past Nixon with the alleged help of the unions and the Mob (at least the Mob sure thought they won that election for JFK and expected him to back off investigating them).

The "mob" was wrong. What should be put to rest is the fallacy that Illinois electoral votes put J.F.K. over the top. They most emphatically did not. Kennedy won the election handily without Illinois' electoral votes.

30 posted on 11/21/2013 11:53:05 AM PST by Graybeard58 (_.. ._. .. _. _._ __ ___ ._. . ___ ..._ ._ ._.. _ .. _. .)
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To: Kaslin
I was in the 6th grade at an elementary school in Eastern NM.

We were all called into the cafeteria where the Principal somberly announced the news.

The kids all clapped and cheered. Seems like they had been fully indoctrinated into the anti-Catholic mentality by their parents.

31 posted on 11/21/2013 1:14:31 PM PST by elkfersupper
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To: Arm_Bears

“So, is RINO Cal suggesting that Kennedy getting plugged caused all of this?”

No, what he is saying is that those of us old enough to remember demarcate a period of time “Before the assassination” and “after the assassination.” CHANGES would have happened regardless, but the wheels came off the social culture. For example, in popular culture, the Beatles, hit the US airwaves just a scant few months after. After the assassination, people wanted to get back to “normal” and that pop culture was at first refreshing — but it also was the spearhead of wide spread drug use. The Vietnam war had started under Kennedy (and make no mistake, he was anti-communist and would have continued), but really started to heat up a few years after, by ‘67 the anti-war movement and running down of America was in full swing. Socially at that same time the birth control pill came out -and a check on morals were breached. Things were never as “apple pie and white picket fences” back in the 50s and early 60s as is sometimes portrayed, it was a complicated era too - but American self-confidence was high, and most people were on the same page as far as foreign policy went: i.e. anti-communist. [True, there were backstabbing reds infiltrating the upper reaches of government from Roosevelt on through Truman, but this is NOT the ideology of the common US citizen.] But most ALL Americans loved their country. Dems overall just as patriotic as Republicans. You can’t say that today. The modern democrat is too often ashamed of patriotism. Let’s not forget the b/c pill which came out in ‘64 — loose morals became tolerated and women were lied to that “you can have sex freely just like a man.” What that led to were irresponsible men and women, not in a relation for love but “hook ups.” Bastard children became common place - especially when Uncle STUPID Sam became their daddy and made males feel less responsible for taking care of babies they’d helped make. Abortion became legal, and in ‘62 God was pushed out of the public schools. All this would have happened ANYWAY, regardless of Kennedy being shot or not. But it is a definite line of demarcation.


32 posted on 11/22/2013 2:25:45 AM PST by gemoftheocean (...geez, this all seems so straight forward and logical to me...)
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