Today marks 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy while on a campaign swing through Dallas, TX. Like with a lot of tragedies, the weather that day presaged anything but doom. On a bright and sunny Texas afternoon, Kennedy and his lovely wife were driven down Elm Street, through Dealey Plaza, with the top down on the Presidential limo when three shots rang out, the third one fatally wounding the young President. To merely say it was a day that changed everything sounds like something of an understatement. Franklin Roosevelt called the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941 - a day that would live in infamy, but November 22, 1963 would truly be a day that would live in infamy.
In the lead up to today's anniversary, there's been a lot written about various aspects of Kennedy's life, his death, his career, his impact, and what might have been had events played out differently during that noon hour in Dallas. What's been interesting is seeing the mitigation of one sector of Kennedy lore: the conspiracy theories. Fifty years later, people seem ready to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole actor involved in killing Kennedy. That's not to say that the conspirators are done completely, but considering that Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley were killed by lone wolves with a grudge, what can't Kennedy?
To mark the occasion, I could have written something about JFK's ilegacy, my own dubiousness about conspiracy theories, or what the world that might have been like had he lived, but I think the below video clip works best. We associate proper journalism with stalwart objectivity, but on this day, even a reporter who had seen and heard everything could be shaken to the core. To me, the key piece of video from the JFK assassination isn't the Zapruder film, but the CBS News broadcast of Walter Cronkite announcing the death of a president, fighting back tears while doing so.