42 years ago today, one of the defining tragic events in American history occurred: John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
I wasn't alive then to even know what that must have been like, but from what I hear, it was pretty traumatic for most of the country and the world to hear of. The President's brains were blown out by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald during the president's now notorious Dallas motorcade. Director Oliver Stone would have us believe everyone was involved: LBJ, the mob, the CIA, the FBI, Fidel Castro, and a whole slew of others were behind the scenes in order to knock off JFK. So many conspiracy theories out there, it's hard to really know by now who's telling the truth and who's just full of bunk! I tend to want to believe Oswald acted alone, but the precision of his shots and the way that Zapruder film unfolds lead me to believe otherwise.
Kennedy rose to untouchable iconic stature after his murder, and little was known of how corrupt and messy his personal life truly was. Back then ya just didn't expose the President's dealings with the Mafia or his many affairs with women like you would now! Apparently John Kennedy was also a very sick man, and was on lots of medications just to function normally. Jesus, this must be the very first case of people realizing that even politicians were human after all.
Sad this had to happen really. Whether one likes or dislikes a President (as is the case with the much despised George Dubya), the assassination of such a figure is very drastic and traumatic to a country. It cuts deep at our hearts and souls, and the wounds are very difficult to recover from.
There are many sad moments in our lives that unite us through television, radio, and the Internet, but these pretty much stand out as the most traumatic modern American events of all time, events which smashed our collective innocence and naiveté, and shattered the illusion of how good life was and could be:
a) the assassination of JFK
b) the murder of John Lennon
c) the Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion
d) WTC-Pentagon 9/11 terrorist attacks
Some people have lived through all four, I can only remember the last two as forever being embedded in my mind. Time stopped when you first heard of these didn't it?
The question we all get is, "Where were you when..."