JFK assassination | KERA News

JFK assassination

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Those of us of a certain age can remember exactly what we were doing on a Friday this hour 50 years ago when we heard the news. President Kennedy's assassination horrified and transfixed the nation. It was murder in plain sight, seemingly the easiest kind of crime to solve. But 50 years later the basic facts of the case are still debated.

Fresh Air's Dave Davies discusses John F. Kennedy's abbreviated term in office with presidential historian Robert Dallek, who finds that while you can make an argument that Kennedy accomplished little, he represents something special in the American experience. Dallek's latest book is Camelot's Court: Inside The Kennedy White House.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: A special JFK edition. Today, both Dallas and Fort Worth honor President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Boston will, too.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Doctors Robert McClelland and Charles Baxter were part of the Parkland Hospital team that tried to save President John Kennedy. Earlier this year, McClelland talked at a conference about how the two witnessed the president’s last rites.

The two doctors were with the body in Trauma Room 1 when a priest arrived.  The position of the gurney made it impossible to leave without disturbing the priest. So, McClelland says, they stood "frozen" by the wall.

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On Nov. 22, 1963, Dan Rather was far down the journalism totem pole, but he was in Dallas for President Kennedy’s visit. He was near Dealey Plaza when the president’s motorcade arrived. KERA recently talked with the legendary Texas newsman to get his impressions of what happened 50 years ago. He’s taking a look back at the assassination in a special on the AXS cable channel on Friday night.

Very few of us need to be reminded about what happened 50 years ago today in Dallas.

And with all the remembrances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the news media this week, there's no need for us to post yet another.

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Roads are already being closed in preparation for Friday’s Dealey Plaza ceremony that marks the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination.

Both Dallas police and city officials remain tight-lipped about security plans. Expect a heavy police presence before, during and after Friday’s ceremony.

Here’s what you need to know:

In Images: When A Nation Lost A President

Nov 21, 2013

A photo gallery of events leading up to and after President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Friday's 50th anniversary of assassination of President John F. Kennedy is an important moment for Dallas: The city wants to use the occasion to demonstrate how much it has changed.

In the 1960s — after the president's murder — Dallas became known around the world as "The City of Hate." And it was a hotbed of right-wing politics, a magnet for the extremes of the conservative movement at the time.

If the world would like to see evidence that Dallas is no longer the City of Hate, it need not look further than the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Tom Orr was just a kid when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. After witnessing Jack Ruby gun down Lee Harvey Oswald on television, Orr was surprised at how the assassination came to affect him.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Crowds have filled Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas throughout the day. They include media members, conspiracy theorists and tourists. Spotted in the crowd: a man playing bagpipes.

And Elvis has entered the plaza. A man impersonating Elvis Presley is playing his guitar -- and taking donations.

The plaza will be shut down soon as organizers prepare for Friday's midday ceremony that commemorates the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.

Eighth graders at Kennedy-Curry Middle School in Dallas entered an essay contest about the legacy of John F. Kennedy. The winners were announced Wednesday. Here's the winning essay, written by Teriana Ward:

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture

Larry Allums was a freshman at Auburn University in Alabama when he heard the news of President Kennedy's assassination. Coming from the Deep South, Allums has had to come to terms with the tumultuous social climate as well as the traditionalist views of his parents in a time where neutrality wasn't an option.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra premieres its composition in memory of John F. Kennedy on Thursday night. When the orchestra decided to commission an original piece for this 50th anniversary weekend, it didn’t turn to one of the graybeard composers with memories of that fateful day. It chose 19-year-old Conrad Tao, who was born three decades after the assassination.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: UNT produces a rap video; a Prince Fielder-Ian Kinsler trade; Sulphur Springs is home to one of America’s best bathrooms, and more.

Pete Souza/The White House via Twitter

Honoring the legacy of John F. Kennedy, President Barack Obama laid a wreath at the assassinated president's gravesite as a nation remembers that terrible day in Dallas a half-century ago Friday.

Obama also recognized a group of distinguished Americans - including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey - with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, an award created by Kennedy.

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For years, the widow of Lee Harvey Oswald has avoided cameras while she tries to live a quiet life in Rockwall, northeast of Dallas. But earlier this month, the Daily Mirror, the British tabloid, published pictures and video of the widow, now Marina Oswald Porter, as she walked out of a Walmart.

LBJ Library

John F. Kennedy, the young President from Massachusetts, had a complicated relationship with his vice president, Texas dealmaker Lyndon Johnson.

But historian Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, believes the two men had developed mutual respect by the time they visited Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at hate letters sent to Dallas following the assassination.

After John F. Kennedy was shot 50 years ago, hundreds of folks mailed letters to Dallas, many of them furious at the city.

The letters wound up at Southern Methodist University.

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Five stories that have North Texas talking: No more 'X' in Dealey Plaza, architect Renzo Piano is in town, the Dallas Museum of Art gets two African works, and more:

Jerome Weeks / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at a citywide effort to turn the ‘City of Hate’ into the ‘City of Love’ through art. KERA’s Jerome Weeks has the story:

In the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the public has never tired of books about the charismatic young president and his tragic death.

This year, the market has been particularly flooded with Kennedy books — from glossy photograph collections to serious biographies and histories to a new round of books devoted to conspiracy theories.

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 As a child in London, 93-year-old Daphne Silwood was taken to see royalty whenever the public was invited. So as a supporter of President John F. Kennedy, she didn't think twice about taking her two kids out of school to see the First Couple at Love Field. What happened at the fence would stay with her for 50 years.

The image of Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses as he announced President John F. Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963, is one that seems seared into our collective memory — even for those of us who weren't around to see it live.

Nearly 40 years later, Cronkite revisited that moment and the rest of that unsettling day in a piece that aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 22, 2002.

How Texas Changed, And Changed The Nation, Since JFK

Nov 17, 2013

Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.

Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.

"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.

When John F. Kennedy began his run for the White House more than 50 years ago, there was plenty of excitement and anticipation. He was energetic, handsome and from a famous Boston political family.

But his candidacy was far from a sure bet. At the time, few would have predicted the lasting impact his campaign would have on every election to follow.

Recognizing The Power Of TV

Kennedy made the most of his youth and novelty, says historian Robert Dallek, author of several books about JFK.

It's been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and polls show that a majority of Americans still believe Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, not a lone assassin. Though an official investigation concluded that Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, conspiracy theories about the assassination were spawned almost immediately, and they keep coming to this day: Republican consultant Roger Stone has a new book — The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ — arguing Lyndon Johnson was behind the crime.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at Dr. Red Duke, who worked to save the life of John Connally, the Texas governor who was wounded after bullets struck Kennedy's motorcade. Connally sat in front of Kennedy. KERA's BJ Austin has the story:

YouTube/Burlesque Hall Of Fame

Throughout November, KERA will mark the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy assassination by taking a closer look at that fateful day, what it meant to the country, how it changed Dallas, and more.

Today, we take a look at one of Jack Ruby's most prominent dancers.

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