President John F. Kennedy
A trifle over 62 years separated the assassination of William McKinley and that of John F. Kennedy. The American people had grown perhaps complacent in the thought that presidential assassinations were a thing of the past, although Giuseppe Zangara could easily have assassinated President-Elect Roosevelt instead of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak in 1933, and Puerto Rican terrorists came perilously close to assassinating Harry Truman in 1950. Nevertheless, the assassination of John F. Kennedy hit America hard.
Back in 1963 I was in second grade, but I was not in school. Sick with pneumonia, my mother had taken me to the doctor and he had prescribed penicillin. After getting my prescription filled my mother took me home. She turned on our television set and I planted myself on the couch to watch it. As we watched television we saw the initial news flashes that President Kennedy had been shot. This was on a Friday, and the remainder of that day and the weekend, my mother, father and I and my brother practically lived in front of the television set, riveted by the around the clock coverage, something unprecedented in this country before that dreadful day.
Conspiracy theories have flourished almost before Kennedy’s corpse was cold, a great many people unwilling to accept that a frustrated loser like Lee Harvey Oswald could have been the assassin of Kennedy. Continue reading
The world came very close to nuclear war half a century back. The above video is of the speech that President Kennedy gave fifty years ago on October 22, 1962. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in placing nuclear missiles in Cuba brought the world to the brink. The crisis was ultimately resolved by the removal of the Soviet missiles in exchange for two agreements between the US and the Soviet Union: 1. No invasion of Cuba by the US; and 2. The removal of obsolete American Jupiter nuclear missiles from Turkey and Southern Italy. Unsurprisingly the US kept secret the removal of the Jupiter missiles. Surprisingly the Soviets also kept mum about the removal of the Jupiter missiles which led to the perception abroad and within the Soviet Union that Khrushchev had lost his confrontation with Kennedy, and paved the way for the Central Committee coup led by Leonid Brezhnev which toppled Khrushchev from power in October 1964. Here is the text of the speech: Continue reading