The Kennedy years were ended by a rifle shot in Dealey Plaza in Dallas at 12.30 on 22 November 1963. The young president had been in office for just 1036 days but his short presidency had introduced some major changes to the USA and indeed the world.
Kennedy’s presidency had brought many long-lasting changes but possibly the biggest was introduced in a speech he made to Congress in May 1961 when he said: ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.’
As well as the political and military events that took place during JFK’s time in office it is his private life which has got as much coverage in the years following his death. One wonders what sort of media coverage his private life would have got if he had been born some 50 years later?
Of all his affairs it is his relationship with Marilyn Monroe that has attracted the most interest. Indeed is has been suggested by more than one conspiracy theorist (of which there are many) that JFK’s assassination was ordered by the FBI who believed his private life posed a threat to national security.
The president’s affair with Marilyn Monroe took place in March of 1962 at singer Bing Crosby’s home in Palm Springs. Monroe was later said to be infatuated with the president and even fantasized about becoming the new first lady of America. For JFK however it was just another notch in his belt. He had affairs with a number of secretaries and White House staff during his time in office and at various times also hooked up with other more famous names such as actress Marlene Dietrich (who was 60 years old at the time of their affair and a former lover of JFK’s father Joe) and the stripper and burlesque dancer Blaze Starr.
The president was shot by a Carcano rifle allegedly fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year old former Marine who according to the Warren Commission report was acting alone.
The conspiracy theorists case is strengthened greatly by the fact that Oswald never came to trial for the shooting as 2 days after JFK’s death he was killed live on US tv by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. Ruby was said to be distraught at the murder of the president but it is thought by many to be highly convenient that the sole killer of the world’s most powerful man is unable to be properly questioned to find out his motives and also if he really had acted alone.
Oswald was not particularly bright and suffered from psychiatric problems. One of the many ironies of the JFK assassination is that 2 days after he killed the president it was to Parkland Hospital the exact same hospital as JFK was taken to, that Oswald himself was taken to when he was shot by Ruby. Just like with JFK 2 days earlier the doctors were also unable to save Oswald.
The events on the day of JFK’s assassination in Dallas were captured by a local man, Abraham Zapruder, on his Bell & Howell Zoomatic movie camera. The film is the only true coverage of the shooting and even this film is not without controversy as it was reported in 1964 that some of the frames of the movie were missing having been destroyed by a photo lab technician.
It seems that even if we will never be sure exactly what happened on that day back in 1963 we will never tire of trying to work it out.
Here is the original undamaged copy of the Zapruder movie footage from that fateful day in November 1963.